In his turn, PM Ponta advises French authorities not to turn Romanians into scapegoats
for their problems at home. French PM Ayrault: “I’ve spoken to Ponta twice. If conditions
are not met, answer on Schengen will be provided in 2014”.
Bucharest authorities decided to formally convey to France the position of Romania regarding the accession to the Schengen Zone. Foreign Affairs Minister Titus Corlatean yesterday informed Premier Ponta, during a cabinet meeting, that he will send French authorities the message that the objectives of the Strategic Partnership between the two countries, including the support of France for Romania’s accession to Schengen, demand reciprocity.
“I already conveyed, and will convey the French colleagues, on diplomatic channels, the message that what we established through the Strategic Partnership and the roadmap signed with the French premier in Paris, which includes a common goal assumed by both sides, the support of France for Romania’s efforts to accede to the Schengen space (…) is supported through reciprocity. If there is no reciprocity, then it would be proper to receive this conclusion via official channels, from the French government, not through the media,” Corlatean told Ponta, quoted by Mediafax. Both the minister and the premier said that Romania met the conditions for the accession to Schengen.
“We did our homework regarding the security of borders and the CVM – probably it will be good, so this is why it must be delayed, if there were something bad, it would have arrived earlier. The new stories surfacing now about the Roma have nothing to do (…) Apart from this, everybody campaigns at the detriment of Romania, and we are wrong to accept it. They have issues in their home politics, but they should not solve them at our expense,” PM Ponta mentioned, asking that the message to be conveyed in all formal meetings.
On the other hand, French officials seem to stick to their opinion that Romania and Bulgaria are not prepared to join the Schengen Zone yet.
French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault said in the National Assembly that he discussed with Victor Ponta twice, informing him that Romania will not get an answer on Schengen until January 1, 2014 provided all conditions are met. “Romania, and Bulgaria as well, still need to make progress in Justice, Police and borders control matters”, Ayrault told French MPs. The Roma issue was also evoked by the French PM, who somehow tempered the toughness of the statements voiced by the minister of Interior, Valls. Ayrault told French deputies that the integration of ethnic Roma is possible as long as they abide to the “laws of the Republic” and “there are no reasons for exacerbating” the matter.
A similar position regarding Roma was voiced also by President Francois Hollande. According to AFP, Hollande said yesterday that France respects Roma ethnic and acts in order to insert them “when there are possibilities and will”. The president of the France-Romania friendship group in the National Assembly was in Bucharest yesterday, where he met the members of the Pro-Schengen Committee of the Romanian Parliament, whom he told that France supports the phased accession of Romania to Schengen, but progress is necessary with this regard. Asked about Romania’s chances to receive a positive vote from France for joining Schengen, Jean-Pierre Dufau avoided a clear answer. On the other hand, the French MP rejected any connection about the Roma issue and the accession to Schengen.
The French minister of European Affairs, Thierry Repentin said yesterday on RFI that Romania and Bulgaria will probably not be received to Schengen because of the CVM report, which will be negative. “(…) We hope that the report will be positive, but apparently there will not be a positive report. It is not France that will oppose the accession, because joining the Schengen space must be unanimously approved by the 28 members states. Today we believe that the two countries must do more efforts.”Moreover, the French minister admitted that “there is no connection between Schengen and the movement of ethnic Roma.”