The Romanian Presidency of Council of the European Union
The main actors: EU Institutions
The European Union presents a distinct institutional set-up, i.e. its legislative and administrative architecture is different from any of its composing member states. The process begins with the EU's top priorities being set by the European Council, bringing together heads of member states and EU-level leaders and it continues with representatives of the national governments defending their own country's national interests in the Council of the European Union. Nevertheless, the interests of the European citizens at the European level are represented by the members of the European Parliament, and finally the interests of the European Union are promoted by the European Commission, whose members are appointed from national governments. The institutions which are part of drafting, negotiating and adopting the EU legislation are: the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, and the European Parliament.
The Council of the European Union
As there is no permanent chair of the configurations and the preparatory bodies of the Council of the European Union but a rotating presidency, lasting for six months, every one of the 28 EU member states presides over this institution. This activity is twofold: managing the agenda and the chairing of the meetings of the Council and its preparatory bodies, and obtaining agreement of representatives of member states on the legislation. As there are ten different configurations of the Council , each of them is chaired by the relevant minister from the country which holds the rotating presidency. For example, in our case, the Justice and Home Affairs Council‘s works (JHA) as it is a common configuration for both ministries, will be chaired by the Romanian ministers for Justice, Mr. Tudorel Toader, and respectively for Internal Affairs, Mrs. Carmen Daniela DAN, (each session in a separate day), during the Romanian presidency. The presidency also representates of the Council in relations with the other EU institutions. In this context it is important to reach agreements on legislative files in the trilogues with the the European Parliament and European Commission.
Continuity at the EU level: The trio of Presidencies
In order to make sure of the continuity in the legislative process and the works of the Council of the European Union are achieved, during each of the rotating six-month Presidencies, a system was put in place so that the presiding countries are part of a “trio”. In other words, three member states that are to preside over the Council consecutively prepare and coordinate their work during the 18- month process and harmonize their priorities in order to guarantee continuity. Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria are part of the present trio of the Presidency. Romania will be part of a trio together with Finland and Croatia.
National and EU priorities
At the same time, delivering results is important. The Romanian presidency will continue negotiations that are already in discussion at the European level, focusing on the priorities agreed within the trio of presidencies, together with the European Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union. Although 95% of the initiatives are either inherited from previous presidencies or set by EU framework documents and initiatives, the Romanian Presidency will also promote two initiatives which have been already presented during the meeting of the Ministers of Interior of the Salzburg Forum Member States which took place in Bucharest, Romania, on between the 14th and 15th of June 2018.
European dimension of Community Policing
Law enforcement agencies’ response to the particularities of the emerging communities at the level of the Member Statesshould be tailored so that to develop an enhanced approach of the "community policing" principles by attaching a European dimension to the concept and complementing the initial mandate of the operational support officers acting under the Prϋm Decisions. Posting police officers to law enforcement agencies from Member States with significant communities of foreign citizens could channel towards these agencies know-how, trust and capabilities, thus adding a substantial contribution in terms of policing the diverse communities, while overcoming biases and difficulties of preventing and combating crimes and victimization.
Policing in a connected world - Novel actionable information
In an era of digitalization, in order to keep up with the dynamics of the criminal environment, all law enforcement authorities should be open to new approaches for combating and preventing crime. An innovative approach of the “intelligence led policing” concept is represented by the novel actionable information. The term emphasizes the need to develop mechanisms of early warning against risks and threats targeting the EU citizens in a timely, credible and relevant manner for a successful intervention in any incident. A harmonization of the role played by the Analysis Units within the institutional law enforcement framework might be envisaged, this being achieved by means of defining European standards in Intelligence Analysis in terms of training and by developing unitary concepts for data analysis.
Promoting the national: informal meetings organized in Romania
Besides chairing working groups of the Council of the European Union, both in Bucharest and in Brussels, the Romanian presidency will also organize include approximately three hundred informal meetings in Romania, where approximately 12.000 participants are expected. These informal events represent both an opportunity for promotion and an informal, more open, discussion and negotiation environment. The number of meetings for each ministry has now been decided, and most activities will take place in Bucharest (122), at the Palace of Parliament, but also in the rest of the country. Besides ensuring the public order measures for all the events that will take place all over the country in Romania, the General Inspectorate of Romanian Police will organize its own of meetings and conferences:
• CARPOL (Vehicle Steering Investigation Experts Network),
• CULTNET (Network of European Experts in Patrimony) ENLETS,
• EFE (European Firearms Expert Network),
• ENLETS (European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services)
• EUCPN (Network of European Experts on Prevention of Criminality)
• EUROPOL Management Board (Meeting of the EU Member States' Representatives in the Management Board of the Europol Agency) and
• Heads of SIRENE Bureaus.
To conclude, the period of six months, the points of the agenda unsolved by the previous Presidency, the external events that might occur during term of the Romanian Presidency combined with and the European Commission’s right of legislative initiatives determines the scope of influence of any EU Presidency. One thing to keep in mind is that agreement and closing files whose discussion might have started during the previous Presidency or before that is more important than putting new things on the table. The attention that a country receives during its holding the Presidency, even more if it happens for the first time, translates into a lot a pressure to perform using all their efforts and present their country in the best way possible. And even though the focus is usually on the external image of the country, the success of the Presidency is determined by the administrative skills and capacity of staff as they have to prepare the hundreds of meetings and working groups chair them and most importantly, stream opinions towards agreement on the policies among all the EU member states.