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Finland joins Germany, saying it will block Romania and Bulgaria’s entry, ahead of today’s JAI Council.
The European Commission is answering Germany’s Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (member of the Christian Social Union – CSU), who, in an interview for ‘Der Spiegel’, announced his country would oppose Romania and Bulgaria’s entry to Schengen. Michele Cercone, spokesman for Interior Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, noted yesterday that the Commission position was to support obtaining a clear time frame for Romania and Bulgaria in the Schengen dossier, adding, however, that it was strictly the decision of the JAI Council. ‘This is not a surprise, this has been Commissioner Malmstrom’s position for some months. We have always said that a clear time frame for Romania and Bulgaria’s accession was what we would have liked to see at the JAI Council’, Mediafax quotes Cercone as stating during the daily Commission press briefing, answering a journalist’s question.‘’You know that in this process the Commission has no concrete role apart from the fact that we have helped analyse and assess preparations for accession implemented by the two states. The Council itself has come to the conclusion they are now technically ready for joining the Schengen Area and it is now a matter for the Council to decide on in unanimity. However, in this process, the Commission has an observer’s role and, concretely speaking, except for expressing its wish that it should happen, there is nothing else the Commission can do’, Cercone said. Asked if Commissioner Malmstrom was planning to do anything to support that position at the JAI Council on March 7-8, the spokesman said each European institution’s role and competence was clearly stipulated in the EU Treaties. On the other hand, yesterday Finland said it would block Romania and Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen, YLE TV reports on its website. Both the Government and the Parliament have said the two countries are too corrupt and do not conduct themselves by the rule of law principles, a pre-requisite for joining Schengen. The Finish Interior Minister, Päivi Räsänen, denied assertions that Finland’s position was with respect to Eastern European Roma begging in Finnish cities. Räsänen said Romania and Bulgaria had been let into the EU much too easily. Finland had previously voiced concerns about the two countries’ ability to properly secure he EU external border due to corruption. Yesterday, Gyorgy Frunda, PM Victor Ponta’s honorary adviser, told RFI Romania that Finland’s position against was ‘painful’, but that the arguments were ‘true for the most part’. Yesterday, PM Victor Ponta said it was ‘irresponsible’ and ‘wretched’ to use some of the Romanian media to ‘stain’ exactly the countries fighting for Romania’s Schengen cause, noting that lies are sometimes published to cater for domestic political interests.
Macovei, Boc accuse USL over Schengen
PDL MEP Monica Macovei said on Tuesday that ‘Romania did not receive the finishing stroke on Schengen from Germany or Europe, but from USL’, pointing out that the Government should take full responsibility for the outcome. Ex-PM Emil Boc also slams USL in the Schengen matter, saying the latest developments in the process of accession and Finland’s opposition were the product of USL ‘defying’ Europe and ignoring the January CVM report.Yesterday, Klaus Iohannis’ successor to the leadership of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (FDGR), Paul-Jurger Porr, announced a continuity of the policies to be promoted by the German minority in this country, meaning especially lobby in the German-speaking states for Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area. Tuesday, President Basescu invited PM Victor Ponta and the foreign and interior ministers for Schengen talks.