Yesterday I received these gloves from Helmuth Duckadam and a piece of advice on how to defend our European interests more effectively, and you know, he is very professional at this.
Two weeks ahead of the European Parliament elections, the leaders have met in Sibiu to begin a discussion on the EU's priorities for the coming years. We talked both about internal affairs as well as global challenges, bearing in mind that the world around us is becoming increasingly changeable and unpredictable. The result of this discussion will come in June, when - as the European Council - we will adopt the EU’s priorities for the next five years, also known as the Strategic Agenda.
Without prejudging the outcome of this debate - as it will also be influenced by the European Parliament elections - I can state one thing with complete certainty. The leaders have categorically demonstrated that they want to take full political responsibility not only for single events or challenges, but for the European Union as a whole. Put simply, the member states and their democratically elected leaders want to actively shape the way the EU functions and develops.
I believe that such a way of thinking is important, and - above all - desirable, in order to ensure the effective functioning of our whole community. This is why I intend to maintain this spirit of the discussion during the preparation of the EU's priorities for the coming years and in the process of nominating the new EU leadership. In this context I would like to announce that, just after the European Parliament elections, on 28th May, I will call a meeting of all 28 EU leaders, in order to start the nomination process. My intention is to carry out the election of heads of EU institutions in a swift, smooth and effective manner.
Naturally, this process will follow the rules set down in the Treaties. It should reflect geographical balance as well as demography, so that both large and smaller countries are represented in the highest positions in the EU. To me, the spirit of the Treaty is also important when it comes to gender as well as political balance. Of course it would be best if we managed to reach consensus on all these decisions. But we have to be realistic. I will not shy away from putting these decisions to the vote, if consensus proves difficult to achieve. The aim is simple: we need effective institutions, and so we need swift decisions. My intention is for the European Council to nominate the new EU leadership in June. I call on everyone to live up to their responsibility to make this possible.
Today, President Anastasiades also informed the leaders about the Turkish drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. The European Union stands united behind the Republic of Cyprus and expects Turkey to respect sovereign rights of the EU Member State. The European Council will continue to follow these developments closely.
Let me conclude in Romanian: I would like to thank President Iohannis for organising and hosting the Sibiu Summit. When we met in January, at the beginning of your Presidency - when I spoke with such conviction, and so emotionally about Romania - I was speaking with confidence, because I know that you are truly remarkable. You have organised an exceptional summit and you can be proud of your work, just as Europe is proud of you. I have fallen in love with Sibiu, the whole of Europe has fallen in love with you. (delivered in Romanian)