Romania remains optimistic that it will be able to cope well with its turn at the rotating EU Presidency, which begins in January 2019.

“We are well prepared,” said Romania’s new European Minister, George Ciamba. “I hope everyone is on board at the end of the day. This task requires a broad cooperation of all institutions.”

But doubts have been raised about whether Romania, one of the EU’s poorest members, should take the helm, given constant tensions between the head of state, President Klaus Iohannis, and the Social Democrat government under Viorica Dancila. Romania has also come under fire from Brussels over judicial reforms seen as a possible threat to the rule of law and democratic values, reported Die Presse online.

“There have always been countries that held elections during their EU presidency. Take Malta, for example. In such cases, all ministers are changed sometimes,” said Ciamba.

Referring to an EU report calling on Romania to beef up efforts to fight corruption and ensure judicial independence, Ciamba said his government “did not agree with some of the harsh wording. “But we’ll take a look at it and will try to assuage some of the concerns”.