August 9, 2018

Minister-delegate Negrescu: Romania successfully conducting EU Council’s shadow presidency
Aug 9, 2018

Minister-delegate Negrescu: Romania successfully conducting EU Council’s shadow presidency.
Romania is successfully conducting the Council of the European Union's shadow presidency, according to Romania's Minister-delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu, who at a weekly meeting of the Coordination Council of the National European Affairs Management System on Wednesday reviewed the latest developments in the process of preparing Romania for holding the EU Council Presidency in the first half of 2019. "We are on schedule with preparations for taking up the presidency in all its dimensions. The best example of this is represented by the fact that Romania is successfully carrying out the shadow presidency of the Council of the European Union during the current Austrian presidency. This exercise involves the same set of activities as those resulting from actually holding the presidency," Negrescu is quoted as saying in a press statement released by Romania's Foreign Ministry (MAE). As far as the political dimension goes, a working programme for the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has been drawn up comprising the narrative and themes of interest, unanimously approved within the Romanian Parliament's strategic document on the themes of interest of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, which were advocated by the prime minister at a plenary session of Parliament. MAE says Romania was the first country to make its contribution to the Trio Programme that Romania shares with Finland and Croatia. Romania, through its minister-delegate for European affairs, initiated the first meeting of the three presidencies as early as September 2017, and he was also the host of a second meeting in Bucharest in January 2018. On the size of human resources, 279 chairs and deputies of working groups, 342 coordinators and 800 file experts have been identified and nominated. The number of theme experts and coordinators will evolve according to the discussions under the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council. In view of the numerical correlation of the teams inside ministries and subordinated institutions with the scope of their attributions under the Romanian tenure, 132 additional posts have been created at the Permanent Representation of Romania to the European Union as well as 282 additional temporary ministerial posts. MAE points out that increased attention has been paid to drawing up a staff training plan for the central public administration of Romania and the Permanent Representation. Thus, the 1,700 officials involved in the preparation and the exercise of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council are included in training programmes started in 2017 and carried out with support from the European Institute of Romania, the General Secretariat of the EU Council, the European Parliament and experts who worked with Estonia and Bulgaria, the countries that previously held the EU Council Presidency. At the same time, MAE experts involved in the organisation of the La Francophonie Summit and NATO Summit have been added to the teams that manage the preparation and exercise of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council. The expertise and experience of seconded professionals from European institutions is also used. As regards the human resources dimension, a pilot programme "Volunteers of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union" was launched. At the level of governmental protocol and communication specialists, working mechanisms were developed for the exercise of the Presidency of the EU Council, and three competitions have been held at MAE level for admission and specific subordinate functions. As far as the organisational dimension is concerned, the calendar of the Presidency of Romania was drawn up at the EU Council, circulated to the member states and the European institutions, along with an organisational plan for the events to be hosted by the Parliament Palace and an organisational plan for the Sibiu European Summit of May 9, 2019. Director of ARTEXIM Mihai Constantinescu was appointed general coordinator of the cultural agenda of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council. At the MAE level, the Unit for the Preparation of Romania's Presidency of the Council of the European Union, public procurement for the Sibiu Summit and the informal ministerial meetings in Bucharest have been successfully started and completed. Interpreting services have also been secured through the European Commission's Directorate General for Interpretation and locations identified for approximately 300 meetings that will take place all over the country during the six-month Romanian tenure. Regarding the communication and promotion dimension, a logo has been approved for Romania's EU Council presidency, selected in November 2017 at a competition conducted under a partnership between the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the minister-delegate for European affairs. The winning concept belongs to Ioan Nicolae Dobrinescu, 15, a 9th grade student of the I.L.Caragiale Collegiate Highs School of Bucharest. At the same time, the motto of the Romanian presidency has also been approved: "Cohesion, a common European value," the result of institutional consultations that ended in May 2018 on proposals from prestigious representatives of the academic, scientific and journalistic environments. In September 2017, the minister-delegate for European affairs started off a cycle of European dialogues public debates and conferences, and in July 2018 a new format of conversation with the citizens started under the hashtag #VorbimDespreEuropa. On October 12, 2017, a forum for public consultation, communication and debate on the preparation and exercise of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council - "EU-RO 2019" opened, the identified sectoral priority themes were up for debates with more than 500 social partners. On May 9, 2018, a series of citizens' consultations for the future of the European Union was launched to discuss priority guidelines for the future of the EU, under the framework of the initiative launched at European level and taken up by the member states. Citizens' consultations are said to be a democratic framework to discuss the most important topics at European level, both those that concern Romania and its citizens directly and those that are relevant to the future of the European Union. In the same context, an operational procedure has been initiated for co-operation with NGOs for the promotion of topics of interest during the Romanian presidency of the EU. Also, a guide for the selection and contracting of sponsorships for the preparation and exercise of the Romanian EU Council Presidency by the unit traditionally dealing with these issues has been launched in order to back those who want to support the Romanian term of office between January 1 and June 30, 2019, following the examples of previous presidencies that had recourse to this type of mechanism. The implementation of IT solutions that will allow efficient activity, including a direct online communication system, has been finalised along with an accreditation system. The presentation site of preparations for the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council - - was launched in February 2018. The portal is developed using exclusively the existing pool of skills in the Romanian public system. The process of building a site for the exercise of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has also started. AGERPRES (RO - editor: Karina Olteanu; EN- author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Simona-Corina Iacob)
[Read the article in Agerpres]

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