Dacian Ciolos: Good afternoon! I want to tell you that I have taken note with regret of the UK referendum results, but it is an option of the British citizens that we respect. In this context, I want to say first of all, that the message coming out also of the discussion I had with the President, the Governor of the National Bank, with political leaders, is that Romania wants to continue its European path and be a proactive actor of the EU process of evolution which will surely unfold following Great Britain’s decision. I want to say from a first analysis we have conducted, that there will be no immediate, significant economic impact on Romanian economy following this decision. Surely, we will continue to keep track of the evolution of the situation, we will continue to conduct analyses too. There will definitely exist an impact and developments in the situation in Romania too, and also in the economy, as it shall happen at European and international levels. The main message I want to convey now is that from an economic point of view, given our current situation, the level of integration of the trade policy, our exports or imports with the Union, between Romania and the United Kingdom, also in terms of mutual investments, we do not expect a significant short –term impact from the economic point of view.
Secondly, the message I want to convey especially to the Romanian citizens living and working in the Great Britain, is that there will be no immediate impact on their rights and obligations there, as Romanian citizens, therefore European citizens. The decision made by the British people today will be gradually implemented. According to the first anaylsis of the European institutions, it will take minimum two years to negotiate the framework and terms of the UK exit from the European Union, to the extent the authorities in Great Britain will formalize this referendum decision by a formal request they will need to make to European institutions. Therefore, the next stages entail this formal UK exit request, followed by negotiations between the European institutions and Great Britain. Romania will actively participate in these negotiations to make sure that the Brexit terms will be negotiated, and this will be done in the best possible conditions, in order to take into account our expectations too. Therefore, this process will be a lasting one, and will allow us to express our views. Until this process is not completed and formalized, Great Britain remains a full-fledged EU Member State, therefore, from this point of view, the Romanian citizens living and working in the UK will further enjoy the same rights and obligations. On the other hand, it is clear that the European Union must evolve and, from this point of view, Romania is currently in the position in which it can fully and proactively participate in this process of evolution.
I think we should all learn lessons from the British people’s decision and act so that the European Union remains a construction project, a project that meets the expectations of citizens from Romania and other Member States, a project that is closer to what the states decided to continue together, and the messages conveyed so far show that the European Union wants to continue this construction process but this will have to happen considering more the citizens’ expectations.
As far as we are concerned, it also came out of the discussion with the political parties, the Government will feed the debate which hopefully will take place, a constructive debate in Romania too, regarding the EU evolution process and from this point of view, I think it is a fortunate coincidence the fact that the Government, as I have announced, is preparing two public debates with analyses that we will submit to talks, one on Romania’s economic development outlook on medium and long term, and it seems significant and I would emphasize on medium and long term, as in the current context, this discussion is more useful than ever, and a second debate project that we have announced and we have prepared, pertaining to Romania’s role within the EU, what Romania wishes as EU Member State.
In my opinion, this debate is more useful than ever, and will allow us to define the framework for discussions which will surely take place in the ensuing period, at European level. Furthermore, I want to remind that in 2019, Romania will ensure the presidency of the EU Council and, therefore, it will have the opportunity and even the responsibility to participate proactively in the redefinition and developments in the European Union, especially given that- as I have mentioned before – this process -UK exit from EU, will be gradually negotiated, in at least two years, so it will impact Romania’s EU Council Presidency one way or another.
In this context, returning to the economic situation, it seems important to me that Romania currently enjoys a good economic condition, and it is very important to make it — through the measures we take and our attitude in the ensuing period, both at Government and political class levels — an asset to increase Romania’s possible role and impact as a EU Member State in the forthcoming talks. From this point of view, I cannot but call to caution in the political decisions to be taken in this election year, especially the political decisions that might have an impact on the budget and the political decisions that generally might have an impact on the economy.
During a discussion held with the Vice Prime Ministers, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Head of Chancellery, I have already asked us to continue and deepen at the Government level now, to the extent we have more elements, the analyses we have started on the impact that the Brexit might have on Romania.
We will work and continue our analyses along three lines: economic, social and institutional and we will submit these elements to debate and talks. We will inform you, because I think it is very important that the positions we build, the debates we organise be based on facts and elements as accurate and factual as possible, to keep this debate within reasonable limits of calm, prediction and predictability.
Thank you! We will further inform the citizens – as I have said –on the way things will evolve. There will be surely talks on next week’s European Council and certain decisions will be made. Depending on what the President will brief us following his participation in the European Council, the Government will continue to come up with more accurate information to support the forthcoming public debate and discussions.