Romanian President and PM still at odds ahead of Sibiu summit

Ever since appointed Prime Minister in January 2018, social-democrat Viorica Dăncilă has been at odds with liberal President Klaus Iohannis, their regular clashes a staple of national media. The latest clash began when Dăncilă was asked last week whether she will attend the summit of the European Council on May 9 in Sibiu, Romania.

“I can’t tell you whether I will attend, I haven’t been invited yet. If there will be an invitation, I will attend”, she told journalists last Friday, adding that this was a “contradiction” as the Romanian government was the one that financed the summit.

Instead of us explaining the confusion at the root of the latest confrontation, we will quote former President Traian Băsescu, who gave a detailed, seven-point explanation on his Facebook page. We will not reproduce the whole argument, just the conclusion:

1. Madam Prime Minister Dăncilă chairs the Council of the European Union (where ministers go), while President Iohannis chairs the European Council, which is another institution. These are two institutions with totally different attributes
2. Madam Premier Dăncilă will not be able to be invited to the works of the European Council (in accordance with the Treaty of Lisbon), but will be able to be invited to the reception and presented by the president, with a short laudation, to the other members of the European Council.”

Depending on a country’s constitutional framework, some EU member states are represented in both the Council of the European Union and in the European Council. In the case fo Romania, which has a semi-presidential setup, the constitution mandates the president to represent his country abroad.

Whether Dăncilă does not know the above or just used an uninformed journalist’s question as a pretext for yet another confrontation with Iohannis, is anybody’s guess.

Be that as it may, today Dăncilă sent Iohannis instructions what to do at the summit, namely ask for Romania to be admitted into the Schengen single-border area of the EU and that the European Commission suspend its Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification (MCV) against Romania, for failing to honour its commitment made upon entering the EU to meet the Union’s criteria regarding the judicial reform and the fight against corruption within three years.

Romania joined the EU in 2007 along with Bulgaria and there is currently an MCV underway against both states.

Title image: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă.


Author: Dénes Albert