Romania defends credentials as it prepares for EU Council presidency
Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu listen to the speech of Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz (not pictured) during the common statement that concluded their official meeting at Foreign Ministry Headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, Jan. 9, 2019. EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT
Bucharest, Jan 10 (efe-epa).- Romania's foreign affairs minister on Thursday said his country was well prepared to take on the rotating Council of the European Union presidency.
Teodor Melescanu defended his country's credentials at a press conference in response to recent remarks made by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who seemed to cast doubt on Romania's ability to carry out the duty.
"(Romania) is committed to having the best EU presidency, because for us it is an opportunity," Melescanu said.
In an interview with German outlet Welt am Sonntag, Juncker suggested Bucharest did not fully understand the significance of the role.
His comments came following the recent and unexpected resignation of the former Romanian minister for European affairs, Victor Negrescu, which threw Romania's ability to effectively take on the mandate into question.
Juncker's criticism was also contextualized in a spat between Brussels and Bucharest between the latter's effort to overhaul Romania's judicial system in a way that critics say could essentially grant corrupt officials immunity.
Romania is set to officially take on the six-month rotating presidency Friday following a ceremony with Juncker in Bucharest.