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FM calls for ‘honest’ discussion on Schengen accession

In Paris, Teodor Baconschi also detailed the main lines of action of Bucharest’s Roma integration strategy.

Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi told Mediafax on Wednesday evening, at the end of his visit to Paris, that he wants “an honest discussion, with all arguments on the table” about the Schengen accession. “We think this is a sensitive problem. It must be treated on bilateral level as well, by exchanging information about our stage of preparation. We think we are ready, we have the support of most member states. The evaluation report was passed by the Schengen Group, now we expect the European Parliament to approve it,” Baconschi said. He added that the honest discussion he desires on the topic will happen in Brussels, at the Committee of Permanent Representatives.

The minister also added that Romania does not agree to the German proposal of joining Schengen in stages, first with its air borders. Schengen accession ranked high on Baconschi’s agenda in Paris. During a meeting with his counterpart Alain Juppé, the French official said that although Romania has the vocation of joining the border-free zone, it still has to make progress in meeting accession criteria.

Another topic discussed by Baconschi during his visit was Roma integration. The foreign minister presented French officials the most important guidelines of the Romanian government’s national strategy for Roma inclusion. “I underlined the fact that the main responsibility goes to local authorities, which must generate efficient projects for social inclusion and job opportunities, but also access to decent lodging or normal medical services, the minister underlined.

Baconschi also said, at the end of his visit, that he was satisfied with the “intense dialogue” he had there, under the sign of a mutual wish to normalise bilateral ties. He added that he invited Juppé to Bucharest and the French official “gladly” accepted.

Meetings with EU envoys, Eussian deputy FM

FM Baconschi had yesterday a working meeting with EU member states’ diplomats, at the initiative of Hungary, currently holding the bloc’s presidency. Baconschi also met with Russian Deputy FM Vladimir Titov, who was in Bucharest for a round of consultations with Foreign Ministry State Secretary Bogdan Aurescu. “The minister sent an opening message towards dialogue, in order to re-launch political ties and consolidate a bilateral relationship based on pragmatism and predictability, confidence and mutual respect,” Foreign Ministry director of communications Doris Mircea said yesterday.

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