The President of Romania debated the future of Europe with MEPs and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, on Tuesday.

“I resolutely ask for unity, cohesion, solidarity and for one common European voice”, said the President of Romania Klaus Iohannis, a few months before Romania takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU and eleven years after the country’s accession to the European Union.

The President recalled the many challenges that the EU has had to face recently, including the financial and migration crises, which have called into question European unity. However, he pointed out that this difficult period has brought us to “a positive realisation – there is a thread which unites us; it is an identity based on common values”. New realities call for change, he said, whilst rejecting “the erosion of values on which the European Union was founded”.

He referred to the ongoing debate on the European model. “A two-speed Europe or a Europe of concentric circles is not an option”, he said.

“European citizens need tangible results and good news on security, peace and prosperity”, said President Iohannis. He also highlighted the role that cohesion plays for the EU. “It is not only an ambition for the new member states; it is also a necessity for the oldest members of the EU”, he said.

He also said that joining the Schengen area remains a priority for Romania. The President referred to Romania’s intention to join the Eurozone “as soon as possible, when the necessary requirements have been fulfilled”.

“The trajectory of a strong and secure EU must be an enlarged EU “, said Klaus Iohannis. “We cannot be a key player at international level if we cannot significantly influence our neighbours.”

European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani, received the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, today in Strasbourg in the framework of his initiative to invite EU Heads of State and Government to debate the future of Europe in plenary with MEPs.

Following President Iohannis´s address, President Tajani stated:

“President Iohannis put forward a clear vision, with Romania as a key player in building a more effective Europe. His contribution comes as his country prepares to take over the EU Presidency ahead of the European elections. European citizens need to know what the EU has done to deliver on concerns surrounding jobs, migration and security. And to show that the EU can take decisive action, I asked President Iohannis to support a Council vote on asylum reform as soon as possible.

“The European Parliament, Commission and Member States should prepare a strategy to re-launch the European dream together. We can start with an ambitious long-term EU budget that boosts growth and jobs – I am counting on the Romanian Presidency to make progress.

“I thank President Iohannis for his cooperation and commitment in favour of EU-based common values and rule of law. He is also in favour of strong links between the EU Presidency and the European Parliament. This is one of the ways that we will bridge the gap between our citizens and European institutions.”