Europol worried over rise in organised crime activities.
Romania is a loyal European partner interested in consolidating the European construction and it would not be fair if the country were judged only by its structural problems, Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu told French officials while in a Paris visit.
Predoiu had a working breakfast with National Assembly vice-president and former Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou, presidential aide on legal matters Jean-Pierre Picca and other officials and civil society representatives, according to Mediafax. Talks focused on the European Commission’s Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification (MCV), on Schengen accession and other European issues.
Predoiu underlined that the latest MCV report shows that legal system reform is back on track, following an accelerated positive trend. “In view of the summer report, we will manage to keep this trend. Legal system developments take time to consolidate,” the minister said. Predoiu also underlined that Romania sternly supports the European construction process. “By the manner in which it managed to secure its borders, Romania brings its contribution to this construction and to European security,” he added. Predoiu also insisted that Romania has invested a lot and in an efficient manner in securing its borders, so in European security in general.
Therefore, Romania’s accession to the Schengen area would help boost European security, he said. Predoiu added that it’s incorrect for Romania to be perceived only “through some structural problems we have in justice, administration or state companies” and that all the country’s efforts must be taken into consideration when evaluating its contribution at European level. A Europol report released yesterday shows that Romania’s and Bulgaria’s Schengen accession might increase organised crime activity in south-eastern Europe, according to EUObserver. The study, likely to hurt the two countries’ bid to join the border-free zone, notes that the region is becoming the main gateway for smuggling drugs, guns and people into the EU. “Of all the hubs, the south east has seen the greatest expansion in recent years, as a result of increased trafficking via the Black Sea, proliferation of numerous Balkan routes for illicit commodities to and from the EU, and a significant increase in illegal immigration via Greece,” the study says.