Ambassador Luminița Odobescu discusses Romania’s plans for the Presidency of the Council of the EU
TGR: What are some of the milestones of your diplomatic career so far? What are some of the most important highlights of your mandate as Permanent Representative to the EU?
I am a career diplomat and economist by training, specialized in trade. I chose the newly created EU affairs department in the Romanian MFA against a position in the Romania’s Central Bank. Dealing with EU affairs is always a team work – I have enjoyed cooperating with many competent and supporting colleagues throughout the years.
Before being appointed Romania’s Permanent Representative to the EU in September 2015, I have held various coordinating positions within the Romanian MFA on EU affairs, including secretary of state, then I was invited to join PM’s team as adviser on EU affairs (2012-2015).
Between 2002 and 2007 I had the privilege of being part of Romania’s negotiating team for EU accession within the Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels, being responsible for several chapters of negotiation (energy, economic and monetary union, taxation, trade).
TGR: What are your main priorities currently and for the future?
My main priority now is naturally Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU – for the first time, an opportunity to show our commitment and readiness (or administrative capacity) to take forward the European project.
As Romania will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time since it joined the EU, it will be from January to June 2019 at the centre of the EU legislative process. The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU opens the Trio of Presidencies composed of Romania, Finland and Croatia and it will be the last Presidency acting throughout the current legislative cycle of the European Parliament.
TGR: What are the most important topics on the agenda of Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU?
Romania will exercise its first mandate as a rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, in a complex European context, marked by processes which will shape the future of the EU, namely: Brexit; negotiations for the Long Term Budget – the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027; elections for the European Parliament (at the end of the current legislative mandate, ensuring transition at European institutional level); as well as the reflection on the future of Europe.
In this interesting and challenging framework, Romania will act as fair mediator and facilitator in order to advance the European agenda. Moreover, in all its actions, Romania will uphold the commitment towards a united and cohesive European Union and a citizens-oriented agenda, focusing its efforts on legislative and non-legislative files with a direct and immediate impact on the day-to-day life of European citizens.
The agenda of the Romanian Presidency will focus on four pillars of action: Ensuring convergence as well as economic, social and territorial cohesion; Maintaining a safe Europe; Consolidating the global role of the European Union; Stimulating European cohesion through dialogue.
As part of the six-month roadmap the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU will host numerous informal events in Romania. A landmark meeting will be the Sibiu extraordinary Summit on the future of Europe, scheduled to take place on Europe Day – 9 May 2019.
Romania is proud to be an efficient facilitator, provider of jointly agreed solutions and intends to be more active in communicating to the public this less known facet of its role in the European Union.
A hundred years after the Great Union, Romania is fulfilling its European destiny.