Alocuțiunea și intervențiile Președintelui României, domnul Klaus Iohannis, din cadrul dezbaterii „Dialogul cetățenesc”, organizate de către Comisia Europeană

„Bună seara! Good evening!
Mulțumesc pentru primirea foarte frumoasă!

Thank you so much for the warm welcoming! My speech will be in Romanian, but later, if you have, and I hope you have, questions, we will continue in other languages too!

Domnule Președinte Juncker,
Doamnă comisar Thyssen,
Domnule comisar Navracsics,
Doamnelor și domnilor,

Mă bucur să mă aflu în compania dumneavoastră, a unui mare număr de tineri cetățeni europeni! Sunt onorat să particip la această sesiune de dialog cu cetățenii pe teme relevante pentru viitorul Europei, cu atât mai mult cu cât ne aflăm aici - la Sibiu - oraș care mobilizează în aceste zile atenția întregii Europe și care va reuni liderii europeni în cadrul Summitului de mâine.
Prezența dumneavoastră aici este o dovadă a apropierii pe care încercăm să o consolidăm între decidenții politici și cetățenii europeni, a necesității unui dialog deschis, permanent, asupra temelor europene care au un impact nemijlocit asupra vieții cetățenilor.
Este important să comunicăm mai bine, să dublăm progresele obținute în aplicarea politicilor europene cu o informare constantă asupra beneficiilor pe care Uniunea Europeană le aduce cetățenilor săi, un plus de echilibru și stabilitate, de siguranță și prosperitate.
Sunt lucruri pe care le-am putea considera, deseori, ca fiind de la sine înțelese, dar care vin doar pentru că avem voința și instrumentele care ne permit să acționăm împreună.
Summitul pe care România îl găzduiește mâine la Sibiu va trebui să ofere o viziune clară pentru un viitor unit al Uniunii Europene, precum și orientări ambițioase pentru definirea noii Agende Strategice pentru 2019-2024, pe care Consiliul European o va adopta în iunie.
Este esențial să confirmăm cu această ocazie că viziunea noastră rămâne una comună și că, dincolo de diferențele și specificitățile noastre firești ca state membre, ne unește voința de a lucra împreună pentru a duce mai departe proiectul european și de a găsi soluții comune pentru provocările complexe ale lumii actuale.

Doamnelor și domnilor,
Peste doar câteva săptămâni, alegerile pentru Parlamentul European și debutul unui nou ciclu instituțional european vor avea un impact major asupra modului în care politicile europene vor evolua în anii care vin.
Eforturile de a remobiliza încrederea și sprijinul cetățenilor în favoarea proiectului european, dialogul la nivelul instituțiilor europene, al liderilor cu cetățenii europeni sunt mai mult ca oricând necesare, pentru a putea răspunde provocărilor generate de discursurile sau mișcările eurosceptice sau extremiste și pentru a asigura sprijinul necesar pentru politicile europene.

Doamnelor și domnilor,
Cred cu tărie că Summitul de la Sibiu va rămâne înscris ca un moment remarcabil în istoria proiectului european, ca un moment simbolic de unitate și angajament în favoarea Europei.
Am convingerea că dezbaterea de astăzi se va înscrie în aceeași notă optimistă asupra viitorului nostru comun în Uniunea Europeană.
Deocamdată, vă mulțumesc, și aștept întrebările voastre!

Intervențiile Președintelui României din cadrul dezbaterii:

Întrebare: We discussed the whole day about solidarity and social rights, but we didn’t talk once about migration. My question is if you think you have solved the question of migration during these five years.

Președintele României, domnul Klaus Iohannis: Migration is one of the more difficult issues for the European Union and for the European citizens. I think it is time for us to be honest about this. Sometimes, when I watch the news on TV, or discussions, I think a lot of people get the impression that migration has been invented back in 2015.

Well, guess what, migration is as old as mankind. Migration defined our entire history. Migration changed countries, destinies, cultures, religions. But it is true, in 2015 we had a huge wave of migrants. This wave was triggered by the war in Syria. The fact is that we, the European countries, have not been prepared for that wave. We have not been prepared for that wave, although we should have known better. Well, maybe now we do, as Jean-Claude said. We managed to bring down the number of - we call those - irregular migrants, by 90%. But, of course, there are still a lot of regular migrants left. And if I could suggest something to the next Commission, or the next institutions, is to be well prepared for migration. Migration is not going to stop, it is going to stay with us for a very, very long time.

So, we better prepare and we better come up with firm, clear, good regulations, good for Europeans, good for the European countries, but fair for the migrants. It is unfair to leave the migrants in the hands of some people who just want to make money out of them and then put them in a country where they are simply lost.

That is not how we, in Europe, should deal with migration and with migrants. In the European Council, we talked quite a lot about how to tackle migration. I became President in December 2014 and ever since I have attended – I do not know, Jean-Claude – maybe 30 Council meetings or more, out of which maybe on 29 occasions we talked about migration. That is quite a lot, quite a lot of talking for what we finally managed to do. However, migration is now sort of under control, but, if we want to do better, we have to find better, clearer and fairer regulations, and this is exactly what Romania stood up for during the current Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which is the Romanian Presidency.

We have not yet solved the problem, but some progress is obvious and we are pretty confident that over the next period we will manage to come up with such good regulations. Thank you!

Întrebare: Astăzi am dezbătut mai multe lucruri importante, de la schimbările climatice și până la votul nostru pentru Parlamentul European. Ce părere aveți dumneavoastră despre votul începând cu vârsta de 16 ani? Știm că doar o țară din Uniunea Europeană are acest lucru, și anume Austria.

Președintele României, domnul Klaus Iohannis: Eu sunt perfect de acord să înceapă posibilitatea de a vota la o vârstă mai mică. 16 ani este ok, dar atunci cred că ar trebui să începem și procesul de învățare despre democrație puțin înainte de primul vot, să nu trezim în situația de acum, când pot să mergi la vot la 18 ani și începi să înveți despre alegeri la 38 de ani.

Deci da, în principiu, sunt pentru a da posibilitatea de a vota tinerilor, dar, în aceeași măsură, eu cred că suntem obligați să găsim o metodă simplă, clară, prin care putem să explicăm cetățenilor europeni despre ce este votul, de fapt. Că, dacă stăm și ascultăm numai politicienii care își fac campanie, aflăm că este despre tot felul de lucruri, numai, culmea, despre ce ne interesează nu este.

Or, în realitate, votul este despre ce ne interesează. Acest vot este despre viitorul Uniunii Europene, despre siguranța cetățenilor, despre siguranța granițelor, despre controlul fair, dar ferm, al migrației. Este despre climă, este despre ce facem noi cu pământul nostru.

Toate aceste lucruri se reflectă în felul în care, în definitiv, votăm pentru Parlamentul European. Putem să avem acolo formațiuni responsabile, care vin cu un plan pentru viitor, sau putem să avem oameni care vin în Parlamentul European și ne spun că, de fapt, nu avem nevoie de Uniunea Europeană. Or, acest lucru, cu certitudine, este contraproductiv.

De aceea, o informare este obligatorie și da, haideți să dăm votul tinerilor!

Întrebare: In our workshop on democracy, we have raised the question how can we ensure that new digital technologies can really be used to protect our democratic values. How should we go on in the future, shall we create a completely new European law or continue with guidance?

Președintele României, domnul Klaus Iohannis: I think this is something we should consider as a huge challenge, because the shift already happened. We live in a digital world. It is not something we have to prepare for, because it is coming in the future, it is happening. And, guess what, we are not prepared!

Maybe you have been talking among yourselves about something, which is really coming. It is called 5G. Next generation of communication. Guess what, it is coming and it is, in itself, a form of artificial intelligence. Your phone will talk to your car, to your washing machine, to your climate installation back home, and, if you are lucky, you will understand it. If not, well, bad luck.

So, my suggestion is to do something to understand it, because this is happening. We have been talking about smartphones and we thought “wow that would be something we could not really imagine”. Well, today everybody has a smartphone and communicate, we exchange all kind of information, which, just a decade ago, was complicated to exchange even among specialists.

Yes, the Commission has issued a number of documents on this and we work on it, but, personally, I am not satisfied with what is happening in the European Union, I have to be very honest about this.

One of the major achievements in the European Union is the Single Market. We managed to have one single market for production, for industrial production, for goods. We are buying stuff in Romania that comes, sometimes, even from Luxembourg – services come from Luxembourg – and we are selling products all over the Union, and so on and so forth. But, why don’t you try taking your phone to a foreign country, which most of you did? If you come to Romania, it works fine, because we have fast networks. More often than not, if you go abroad, your phone is not functioning properly. If you try to do more complicated issues, then you find out that, even if we have a single market, we are far from a single market when it comes to digital.

How can we evolve and protect the Union for the digital era that is surrounding us already if we do not have a single digital market among us. We are only 28 – not before long, we will be 27 – countries. So, I think we have a huge lot of work before us and yes, the question comes “OK, if we will live in this digital world, how can we be sure that our core values will be guarded, how can we make sure that our rights will be present and will be guarded?”.

I think this is something we will have to sort out with the Commission, with the Council, with all the member states, because it is happening and I personally prefer to be prepared for the things that happen.

Întrebare: How will you ensure that young workers are more protected and how can we create a more youth friendly work market?

Președintele României, domnul Klaus Iohannis: Just a few words on this, because it is important. I know my friend Jean-Claude is not going to be happy, because again I have to say something that we did not do yet in the European Union. If we read the statistics, in most European countries the youth unemployment is considerably higher than the general unemployment. Well, guess what, somewhere people make mistakes, because young people are eager to work, eager to make money, eager to be part of the society. So, if they are not, it means that the system has a flaw and it has to be corrected.

Well, obviously, the problem is in the educational system, because, if we would prepare the young generation for the jobs that actually are on the market, they would get those jobs. But, many of our educational systems prepare the young generation for jobs that sometimes they don’t even exist anymore when they finish school and this is too bad. We have to back to our educational systems, to become much more proactive. We have to link the educational systems to the labour market. We have to take care of the young generation.

This is not something we have to do because young people are nice. All politicians say, “Well, you are future, you are nice”. Obviously, but we have to do that as a measure of self-conservation. The young generation is the future of our society. That is a fact. It is not a nicety that I am saying.

So, we better take care of the young generation and do whatever is necessary to make them integrate as soon as possible. This is absolutely vital for our societies and it is even more important for the European Union, where in most countries the demographic pyramid is not the right one. It should be this one, but it is this one. We do not have enough young people to maintain the level of our society, unless we teach them more, we teach them better and we integrate them as soon as they finish school.

This obviously has to do not only with education. It has to do with fair treatment, with good conditions at work, with a number of measures that politicians should take to make immersion easier. All this is something we still have to work on, in my opinion.

Întrebare: Tomorrow is the Summit on the Future of Europe and you, Mr. President, just said that the young people are the future. So, if tomorrow you decide on the future of Europe and we are the future of Europe, why aren’t we invited to the Sibiu Summit?

Președintele României, domnul Klaus Iohannis: You know what I like best in these debates with young people? They are so provocative and give us the possibility to come up with real answers. Let me tell you one. I hope it is real for you. I am European too. Jean-Claude is European too. And if you were not Europeans, you would not be sitting here, you would be going somewhere else, at more interesting events.

Thank you for being here and staying here with us!

You know what? These issues will be in the Summit. This is exactly why Jean-Claude and myself came to talk to you. This is what politicians do if they really want to have a feedback. If not, they can write a communiqué and that is it. Jean-Claude and myself do not only need this feedback, we want this feedback. Through us, you will be there! So you have two voices in the Summit of Sibiu, but you should have – and I think you will – more voices, because there is a phenomena we call democracy. Democracy likes this. Everybody goes and vote for the leaders. Leaders go and do their best and decide for the society. Well, this is what we do in the Council. In the European Council, we, the leaders, meet to discuss about the Union. We do not meet to discuss about our own private issues. We do not go there, believe it or not, to discuss about the parties we come from. We talk about the Union and about the problems of the Union.

But, of course, we do not go there by our own will. We go there because we have been elected. So, if you want to have good leaders in the Council, go and vote!