European Council head: Receiving Ukrainian grain has affected Romanian farmers
European Council president Charles Michel visited Romania on Monday, March 27, and met president Klaus Iohannis. After the meeting, the two officials held a joint press conference, during which Michel recognized the fact that Ukraine’s grain exports passing through Romania has adversely impacted local farmers.
“Today we discussed important issues for our European continent. I will focus on three: EU support for Ukraine, Moldova, and the Schengen area and border management,” said Charles Michel, adding that the EU will continue to support Ukraine for as long as necessary.
“Just a few weeks ago, President Zelenskyy attended our European Council meeting in Brussels. He made one thing perfectly clear: Ukraine needs more ammunition. Urgently. And we have responded quickly and decisively,” Michel said, according to the press release.
The head of the European Council thanked Romania for setting up a humanitarian hub, welcoming Ukrainian refugees, and for allowing Ukraine’s agricultural exports to pass through Romania according to the EU’s so-called Solidarity Lanes action plan.
“I know this has adversely affected Romanian farmers,” Michel said, adding that EUR 50 mln has been set aside for farmers from front-line states. He also said that the amount should be increased.
At the same time, Charles Michel restated the EU’s comprehensive support for Moldova and reiterated that Romania should become a fully-fledged member of the Schengen area.
President Iohannis, in turn, praised EU solidarity in the face of Russian aggression, noting that “the European Union is preparing a civilian mission to provide concrete support in combating hybrid threats. We also continue to promote our proposal to have a sanctions regime dedicated to the situation in the Republic of Moldova, in response to Russia's destabilizing actions.”
“We also discussed Romania's accession to the Schengen area and our country's role in guaranteeing the external border security of the European Union. In this process, we have the support of the president of the European Council to adopt a positive decision regarding accession this year,” the Romanian president said.
Iohannis also highlighted Romania’s efforts to boost the security of the EU’s external borders through state-of-the-art technology and real-time surveillance capacity.
In addition, Klaus Iohannis said that the increased Euroscepticism in Romania, as shown by the latest polls, concerns him, and argued that the increase is partly due to the fact that Romania was blocked from joining the Schengen area. The war and the subsequent inflation are also factors.
Nevertheless, the Romanian leader said that “we will return to optimism and confidence in the European Union because Romanians are pro-European, they are pro-European Union, we know this and we rely on it. And since Romania has only one clear direction, the European one, it is probably our duty as politicians in Romania to explain to people more and better what we do in the European Union, what the European Union does, and how we address all the problems that people face.”
During his visit, Charles Michel also met with the minister of internal affairs Lucian Bode, who presented the Operational Coordination Center of the Romanian Border Police.
(Photo source: Presidency.ro)