Present yesterday in Bucharest at the “POSDRU – Main Instrument for Training, Employment and Social Inclusion in Romania” annual conference, Koos Richelle, Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, rejected the link between the Roma and Romania’s Schengen accession, pointing out that no European citizen should become a burden for another state’s welfare system. He underlined that the European funds “should be spent in a responsible manner.” “You cannot go in a country and enjoy the benefits of the welfare system. You can go, you can look for a job, but you shouldn’t become a burden for a certain state. That state has no reason to offer you money,” Koos Richelle stated, according to Mediafax.
Koos underlined that migration “is not a problem that concerns solely Romania and the Roma population.” “In the European Union many persons are moving between countries in order to benefit from the best welfare and healthcare system,” the European official said.
In what concerns the link between the Roma and Romania’s Schengen accession, he pointed out that these are two “completely different” situations. In what concerns the Roma ethnics, the director general stated that the EC no longer wants policies but concrete actions put into practice. On the other hand, the European official reminded the Romanian authorities that they still have at their disposal a lot of European funds and “they should be spent during the period of time allocated, in order not to be wasted.”
PM Ponta criticizes French
On Monday evening Premier Victor Ponta labeled as ‘hypocrisy’ the French political leaders’ multiplying statements concerning the rejection of Romania’s Schengen accession bid.
“What does Romania have to do with the fact that they have elections there and the right-wing parties are attacking the left-wing parties and both are lying when telling the French that if Romania does not enter the Schengen Area then the Roma ethnics will no longer be there. I believe we have to be very serious, we did our job (…). Apart from that politicians are hypocritical as everywhere else, we will do our job. (…) It’s hypocrisy, what you think there will no longer be Roma ethnics in Paris if we do not enter the Schengen Area? They are still there,” Victor Ponta said.
In his turn, Bogdan Mazuru, the Romanian ambassador to France, told Digi24 news channel that Romania’s relationship with France is too profound to be shaken by the French officials’ statements concerning the Schengen Area, opining at the same time that the explanation for the change of discourse has to do with “the internal context in France.” “The explanations are clear, they have to do with the economic crisis France is going through – insignificant growth, high unemployment, security problems in the large cities, the political context. A government and a president that has a low approval rate, that expects a difficult elections year next year, with three separate elections. The first, in March, the municipal elections, are the most important for the Socialist Party, a party of mayors and local representatives that put pressure on the French government,” Bogdan Mazuru stated. “After all, we are the victims in this situation,” he added. Nevertheless, Bogdan Mazuru hopes the relations between Bucharest and Paris will not experience a period of cooling.
Online petition against Romania’s Schengen accession
Until yesterday afternoon over 50 persons had already signed a petition against Romania’s and Bulgaria’s Schengen accession on January 1, 2014, Mediafax reports. The petition was posted online by Nadine Morano, former French Minister for Professional Training and former UMP MP. “The French people and first of all the mayors of our communes are fed up with the Roma that are illegally invading our territories. Their countries of origin exonerate themselves of the responsibilities they have concerning their integration,” the former UMP (right-wing opposition party) minister writes in the petition, adding: “This is unacceptable!” Morano goes on to say that “this is the reason why France has to oppose their Schengen Area accession which is scheduled on January 1 next year.”