Romania has taken over the rotating European Union Presidency as the bloc faces the prospect of Britain’s impending departure and rising nationalism in many member states.
Romania’s six-month term began on January 1 under the motto “Cohesion, a common European value.”
It is the first time that Romania has taken the Presidency. In an interview with Germany’s Die Welt on December 29, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the “Bucharest government has not fully understood what it means to preside over the countries of the EU.”
The role “requires a willingness to listen to others and a willingness to put one’s own concerns in the background,” Juncker said. “I have some doubts about this.”
Romania and the EU have disagreed over a proposed overhaul of Romania’s judiciary that the EU feels is politically motivated and would undermine the country’s fight against corruption.
Key moments in Romania’s term holding the EU Presidency will be Britain’s scheduled departure from the bloc on March 29 and EU parliamentary elections scheduled for May.