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Iohannis: I want to remain President of Romania, not European Council


President Klaus Iohannis stated, on Saturday, that he wishes to remain President of Romania and not become President of the European Council.

"I am the President of Romania and I want to remain President of Romania, not of the European Council. (...) There are many things to be done and I am willing to remain involved," Iohannis stated, at the ceremony awarding him the Honor Medal of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania.

His statement comes as starting last year political sources have said Iohannis' name was circulated in Brussels as a possible holder of the position of European Council president, a position currently held by former Polish PM Donald Tusk.

He added before the meeting of the European Council in Brussels that he is starting a new round of negotiations, first of all for the office of President of the European Commission, saying that his impression is that "it will be a very long night with an end not necessarily certain."

"We are starting a new round of negotiations, certainly, first of all, for the position of President of the European Commission, but the other positions will be at least discussed. My impression so far is that it will be a very long night, with an end not necessarily certain," said Iohannis.

He added that it would be "optimal" for the negotiations to end before the new European Parliament begins its mandate.

"We are at a certain stage now and the political negotiations will take place and the process will go ahead. It would be optimal to reach a common conclusion before Parliament starts working in the new mandate. This is the best variant. But if it does not happen so, that is not a disaster in itself. There have been mandates that began after long negotiations. Finally, it is important to find solutions that are viable and acceptable," the head of state said.

President Iohannis said he is determined to get involved in seeking balance in terms of the offices the European countries receive, stressing that "the East-West gap, which has narrowed, must not be opened."

"I am firmly committed to getting fully involved in achieving this balance. It is unacceptable, from my point of view, not to have a person in an important position coming from the countries that have become more recently EU members and, obviously, a person elected in a leadership position must get involved for the Union and not for the member state from which he/she comes, but it is always important that there are people from all areas, because negotiations of any kind must also take into account a problem which is important, that new gaps between the East and the West must not appear and the gap, which has rather narrowed, must not be opened. And some balancing is necessary for this to happen, that is, the geographic criterion," the president further said.

"I intend to do a great deal for European Romania and this is why I want to be the president of Romania," Klaus Iohannis said.