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EU Council chief travels to Romania for talks on agenda for future with other bloc leaders

eu-council-chief-travels-to-romania-for-talks-on-agenda-for-future-with-other-bloc-leaders
EU Council chief travels to Romania for talks on agenda for future with other bloc leaders

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — European Council President Charles Michel traveled to Romania’s capital on Wednesday for talks with several European Union country leaders on the bloc’s so-called strategic agenda to address goals for the next five-year period.

Michel arrived in Bucharest at the presidential Cotroceni Palace where he was hosted by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. The informal meetings, which are periodically held in different EU capitals, come ahead of the June 6-9 elections for the European Parliament.

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Michel said in a joint press conference that the 27-nation bloc has in recent years faced an “extraordinarily difficult” period of challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate and energy crises, and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Romania-EU

European Council President Charles Michel gestures during a press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, April 3, 2024.  (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Over the next five years, he said the EU will focus on bolstering security and defense, increasing economic stability and prosperity, bloc enlargement, and strengthening the democratic values that underpin the EU project. “Despite all the efforts in the past, there are still a lot of challenges ahead,” Michel said.

“The goal is to make sure the European countries are more responsible to address the security challenges and to take into account the threats we face,” he added. “Investments in that field are important.”

For his part, Iohannis also cited the series of crises the EU has faced in recent years including the energy crisis, the effects of climate change, illegal migration, and the war in neighboring Ukraine.

“Major challenges await us, but we also have the lessons learned from the last five extremely difficult years, in which the (EU) has proven that it is resilient, adaptable and capable of protecting its citizens,” said Iohannis, who announced his bid last month to become the next leader of NATO.

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“We must remain committed to making every effort together to protect our values, the European spirit and the hard-won democracy in some member states,” he added.

The two leaders were later joined by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

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