State Secretary to resign if Schengen accession delayed

Interior Ministry state secretary Dan Fatuloiu said he is willing to resign should Romania fail Schengen accession next year, according to “If all projects linked to accession are not finalized, I will resign, and so will the other state employees responsible of this matter,” Fatuloiu said.

In his turn, Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu on Friday said Romania fulfilling its goal to enter the Schengen area is a matter that crucially depends on its European partners. According to Predoiu, the countries who have more openly expressed reserve about Romania being capable to adjust to space’s proceedings and rules were Finland and The Netherlands. In justice minister’s opinion, Romania must firmly bring forward untouchable arguments and aim to keep the accession calendar set for March 2011. The minister however refused to give details leading to the main objections the two EU states have. “We are to very soon meet with The Netherlands’ justice minister and I cannot give up more details,” Predoiu said.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy on Saturday also addressed the issue of Romania and Bulgaria acceding Schengen, by saying both countries should firstly settle their border issues so the CVM is finalised. “If these two countries will be part of Schengen, they become defenders of Europe’s borders, and before they can do that, all border issues must be solved,” Sarkozy said, quoted by Mediafax.
But, according to other officials, Romania and Bulgaria will not enter the EU’s free border area in 2011. EP’s Socialist leader Martin Schultz in a visit to Sofia made this statement on Saturday.

According to Schulz most of the issues Romania has are in connection with the Roma ethnics and the difficult ties with France as result to Roma repatriation. Another issue the EP official mentioned was the fact that both Romania and Bulgaria have had weak results in the fight against corruption and have had a lack of proper justice reforms over the past years.

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