Romanian President Klaus Iohannis vowed to respect EU rules and protect the Rule of Law in his country, while speaking at a press conference following Romania's official assumption of the EU's rotating presidency in Bucharest on Friday.

"In Romania we cannot build a legal justice system that would not be compatible with the other justice systems in Europe, and moreover, when we joined the European Union, we wanted to be part of an area of values and we wanted to stay within it. In this area of shared values, which of course encompasses the fundamental rules for the Rule of Law," Iohannis said.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the Romanian presidency would be useful "if only to demonstrate the fact that all those who claim that there are two blocs in Europe - those who live east and those who live in Central Europe - basically they are quite wrong."

Both leaders highlighted that Romania's presidency would also witness the United Kingdom leaving the Union.

Iohannis also mentioned Romania's efforts to join the Schengen Area, a negotiation process which is still open despite the country has met the accession criteria for some years, and stressed that a final decision can only be taken unanimously by the EU members.

Romania officially started its six-month EU presidency in Bucharest on Thursday.

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