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The Prime Minister announced yesterday that the government’s intention is to avoid reaching the point in which Germany will exercise its veto within the JHA Council. Internal Affairs Minister Radu Stroe and Foreign Affairs Minister Titus Corlatean criticized the position that Germany’s Internal Affairs Minister expressed on Sunday.
“We took note of the decision announced by the German Internal Affairs Minister and so it’s clear that Germany will exercise its veto at the JHA Council if forced to. Our intention is not to reach that point, because that’s not what we seek. Our intention is to present once more within the JHA Council the reasons and the fulfillment of technical criteria. If we obtain from Germany a clear point of view on what should be done in the future it would be very good, I don’t want us to export Romania’s problems beyond its borders and within other councils,” Premier Victor Ponta stated yesterday before meeting the USL leadership, being quoted by Mediafax. The Premier pointed out that Romania’s European goals should be treated in a new strategy with “a realistic, pragmatic and dignified attitude,” a decision in what concerns the Schengen file set to be taken within the government. He offered assurances that Romania’s fundamental European integration goals remain unchanged however he noted that no progress has been registered since 2005, not in what concerns the Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification, nor in what concerns the Schengen Area and Euro Area accessions. Asked how the government’s Schengen accession strategy will change, Ponta said that while until now any talk with a European partner started with the Schengen issue, from now on this issue will no longer be the first topic on the agenda of the talks. “The national obsession about Schengen was started by President Basescu in the hope of being allowed in back in 2011 and of chalking up a success. It was a failure,” the Head of Government stated. At the same time, he claimed that in his opinion Germany will permanently reanalyze its position and when the political decision can be taken Romania will join the Schengen Area considering that it has met the technical requirements. “We have to explain to the Germans, but we have to explain to the British too, who are not in the Schengen Area, that not all of Romania will migrate to take the jobs of Germans or British people and we can work together – with France too, which has the same problem, and with other countries – in order to try to better integrate the representatives of the Roma community,” Ponta explained.“However, the less we snitch on each other in Berlin and other capitals and the less joy we have in the USL Government failing, because the PDL Government and Romania as a whole failed too, the more chances we have to more seriously treat these two problems outlined by the German Interior Minister,” he added. Asked whether he assumes the success of the Schengen accession bid by the end of his term, Ponta replied: “I hope you don’t want me to assume what the German government will do, I only assume that we will make all efforts that concern us, but I cannot assume something in the name of the German government. That would be completely not serious, just like the President did not assume something in the name of the Dutch government. It’s just that he forgot how angry he was in 2011 and how he was saying it is an unfair decision. Now it’s fair because he is no longer in government.” PNL President Crin Antonescu stated yesterday that from the Romanian side’s point of view the Schengen accession “was never Romania’s top priority,” but continues to remain a goal. He added that he shares Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean’s position according to which if someone wants to block the discussion and adoption of this decision it should bring arguments. These statements come a day after Germany’s Internal Affairs Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich stated in an interview for Der Spiegel that he will use Germany’s veto against Romania’s and Bulgaria’s Schengen accession at the JHA Council on March 7-8. In the same interview published by Spiegel the German minister added that he will ask Brussels to restrict the right of return to Germany of European citizens sent back to their countries of origin, against the backdrop of the debate on “the immigration of poverty from Romania and Bulgaria.”
Stroe: German Internal Affairs Minister lost good opportunity to shut up
Asked on Realitatea TV for a comment on the announcement made by his German counterpart, Internal Affairs Minister Radu Stroe stated: “The German Internal Affairs Minister lost the opportunity to shut up. He could have expressed his opinion at the JHA, where he could have said anything. Too bad. In the Interior Ministry’s line of work there is a saying: “you have to maintain the limit of legitimate defence.” The minister crossed that limit. Too bad for great Germany.” He added that Romania has done what it had to do in order to enter the Schengen Area but Germany opposes the accession. “We will let Germany find the moment it considers we should be allowed in,” Radu Stroe stated. Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean stated on Sunday evening that he does not consider the position expressed by German Internal Affairs Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich as being the position of Germany, but “the position of a part of the Christian-Democrat government” from the EPP. PDL is a member of EPP too. In fact, Premier Ponta stated he has nothing to reproach Germany with in what concerns the Schengen accession issue, his reproaches being for those in Romania “who curse and badmouth Romania” in Brussels and Berlin and “are happy we are sinking after they punched holes in the boat.”Defence Minister Mircea Dusa, who was former Internal Affairs Minister, stated yesterday before the USL meeting that Romania should not hold its “head bowed” on the Schengen issue and should defend its “dignity and honor,” while other EU members switch positions from one moment to the other based on subjective considerations. “From one moment to the next some of them change based on considerations I don’t understand, subjective, they tell us they will oppose our Schengen accession,” Dusa added, underlining that Romania has made special financial and human efforts to secure its borders. On the other hand, Cristian Diaconescu, the head of President Traian Basescu’s chancellery posted on his blog that to turn the Romanian people against the European community is a crime and a shame and the government should say whether we will be going forward with or we will abandon the Schengen accession and the adoption of the Euro.
Opposition threatens to file simple motion
Civic Force President Mihai Razvan Ungureanu stated yesterday that USL wants Romania outside the EU, that Victor Ponta’s and Titus Corlatean’s statements on the Schengen issue have “an unprecedented toxic logic” and he asked the two to resign. PDL President Vasile Blaga announced that his party and PPDD took the decision to file a simple motion within the Lower Chamber on the Schengen issue as soon as possible. “Romania is paying now for a year of anti-European and anti-national policy carried out by USL,” Blaga stated yesterday.
Swoboda: A very populist and unacceptable statement
Hannes Swoboda, the leader of the S&D Group within the EP, considers that the statement made by the German Internal Affairs Minister is “very populist and unacceptable,” pointing out that the European socialists will ask the Irish Presidency of the EU to give Germany “a signal that such policies are unacceptable.” Asked by RFI whether Germany’s position comes as a surprise, Swoboda answered: “It’s not a surprise for me. The Internal Affairs Minister is a very populist right-wing politician. Germany holds elections and I believe in certain cities they want to show the electorate how tough they are and that they will prevent people from coming to Germany. Something they did not do and cannot do. It’s a political position.”