EU CIVIL WAR: Tusk takes a MAJOR SWIPE at Juncker over Romania nightmare presidency
Bucharest has taken over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council for the first time since it became a member of the EU in 2007. And the President of the European Council expressed his faith in Romania, despite being one of the EU state members that worries the most the bloc with its internal quarrels and new legislation regarding corruption. Mr Tusk wrote on Twitter: “Happy New Year! I wish Romania all the best with your first EU presidency.
“I am confident you will deliver and look forward to working with you. #RO2019EU”
This comes just days after Mr Juncker, the President of the European Council, said he didn’t believe Bucharest had “fully understood” what its new role entails.
Speaking to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, he said: "I believe that the government in Bucharest has not yet fully understood what it means to preside over EU countries.
"Thoughtful acting also requires a willingness to listen to others and the firm will to put one's own concerns at the end of the queue.
“With that in mind, I have some doubts.”
What worries Mr Juncker is not the ability of Bucharest of carrying out the role, as he said Romania is “well prepared” at a technical level, but its internal turmoil.
Indeed, Romania’s Government has suffered hard blows in the past months, with the ruling Social Democratic Party being crippled by infighting and Victor Negrescu, the country’s EU minister, resigning.
His departure in November may have been triggered by his Government reproaching him for his “failure to soften” Brussels, according to news website HotNews.ro.
Mr Juncker said these problems could prevent Romania from acting as a “solid entity” on the European front.
He said: "A united front at home is needed to promote European unity during the Council presidency."
On top of this, Mr Juncker returned also on concerns already expressed by the EU over Romania’s rule of law, with Brussels accusing Bucharest earlier this year of “moving backwards” and threatening punitive actions.
Mr Tusk’s blunt response will be seen as a rebuke towards Mr Juncker and a bid to ease tensions ahead of the Romanian presidency.
Frans Timmermans, the Commission's first vice president, said in relation to the changes to Romania's justice system and criminal code: "Things are now moving backwards in a way that would be damaging for the place that Romania has built as an EU member state in recent years.
"If the European Commission needs to be brutal in our assessment, we will be.
“If we need to use other instruments, we will."