Nagyszeben hosts informal EU summit on May 9

EU heads of state and government will attend an informal meeting to be held in Nagyszeben/Sibiu on May 9 to discuss the European Union’s 2019–2024 strategic agenda. The high-level meeting will be hosted by the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, the member state currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and will be chaired by President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani will also attend the meeting.

Brief history of Nagyszeben/Sibiu

Sibiu/Hermannstadt/Nagyszeben/Cibinum, a city in Transylvania, central Romania, was originally called Cedonia. Saxon settlers arrived here in the twelfth century and given land by the then King of Hungary, Géza II, in order to defend the eastern frontiers of the Kingdom of Hungary (which at the time included Transylvania, as well), mine the region, and increase its economy by means of trade. The Saxons named the place Hermannsdorf after their leader (with the place receiving city status, it was renamed Hermannstadt). The citadel was built by the Saxons in the thirteenth century but destroyed by the Tatars in 1241. It was later rebuilt in the fourteenth century.

Nagyszeben/Sibiu was an important craft and cultural center of Saxon communities, and for a short period between 1849 and 1965 it even became the capital of Transylvania. After World War One it was ceded to Romania with the rest of Transylvania.

The meeting

This week, all eyes turn to this historical town located on the north side of the Red Tower Pass as 27 heads of state or government, 36 official delegations, 400 high-level guests, and about 800 journalists arrive in Transylvania, Romania. The EU heads of state and government will meet up and exchange views on the challenges and priorities for the EU for the years to come. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has issued an invitation ahead of their informal meeting outlining the agenda, which starts at Sibiu City Hall at 12.30 p.m., beginning with the traditional exchange of views with European Parliament President Tajani.

“We will gather in Sibiu on Europe Day to discuss strategic plans for the Union in the years ahead. In this context I will propose we adopt the Sibiu Declaration, sending a message of unity and confidence in our joint actions. I enclose an outline of the Strategic Agenda for the next five years. Following the discussions in Sibiu we will formulate the 2019-2024 EU Strategic Agenda, to be adopted at the European Council in June,” Tusk wrote in the invitation letter.

Following the “family photo” (to be taken on the Piata Mare Square) the EU leaders will meet at Brukenthal Palace for a working lunch dedicated to Europe’s place in the world. The afternoon working session will be held in Sibiu City Hall, where we the topic of discussion will be the internal challenges facing the European Union. The meeting is expected to finish by 6 p.m.

Title image: Nagyszeben/Sibiu. Image source: Pixabay

Author: István Fekete