Poland remains an honest broker of Romania Schengen accession issue

EU’s Polish Presidency priorities were presented yesterday in Bucharest.

Poland would like to remain an honest broker on Romania and Bulgaria Schengen accession issue, in order to surpass the different opinions between member states, said yesterday Marek Szczygiel, Polish Ambassador in Bucharest at the press conference on the inauguration of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council, organized by the Poland’s Embassy to Romania and the Representation of the European Commission in Bucharest. “We support the enlargement of the Schengen border. We would like to facilitate a consensus decision regarding Romanian and Bulgaria’s accession process, rather earlier than later. The Polish PM Donald Tusk has officially said during the recent European Council meeting that we will work closely with the other EU partners to find the right solution to this problem”, said Ambassador Szczygiel. Yet, the Polish diplomat avoided judging if Romania and Bulgaria should be become fully-fledged Schengen member states by the end of the year. “It’s too early to say that we favour this solution, but we shall try to convince the rest of the member states that the easiest way is probably the most efficient one”, said the Ambassador.  Poland’s motto for the next six months will be “a growing, secure and open Europe”. Among the EU’s Polish Presidency priorities are the start of negotiations on the EU budget concerning Europe 2020 strategy, reduction of roaming fees, the cohesion policy and the future of the Common Agricultural Policy, renewed  EU energy policy, e-commerce. As for the European enlargement, the Polish Presidency will lobby for the signing of accession treaty with Croatia, continuation of accession negotiations with Turkey and for further progress in negotiations with Iceland. The Polish Ambassador said that Russia is a very important partner to EU, expressing hope for progress on issues such as visa liberalization and Russian Federation’s joining the World Trade Organization.

Also present at the event, Romanian Foreign Minister, Teodor Baconschi was asked to comment on the recent statement of the French Ambassador in Bucharest Henri Paul who said in an interview to Mediafax that the end of 2012 is a possible date for Romania’s full Schengen accession. “I think a Foreign Minister should not comment on the ambassadors’ interviews. What I can tell you is that we are working close with our French friends and partners to reasonably solve this gridlock”, said the Romanian FM. He reminded that on the last European Council meeting, the sceptical voices of the Schengen enlargement committed to constructively resume the discussion in September. “We have an interesting assumption. I maintain optimism; I hope the Polish presidency will be an efficient referee of this little dispute inside the European family”, also said Baconschi.

As a matter of fact, the Romanian FM thanked the Polish Ambassador for the optimism Poland expressed ahead of the six month term at the helm of EU Council. “The Polish Presidency is essential for Romania’s Schengen accession process. We trust that important political decisions will be taken during Poland’s term”, said Baconshi, who also asserted that abolishing EU internal borders is “imperative” for continuing EU integration. “The Polish Presidency priorities largely coincide with our own”, said Baconschi, mentioning Roma­nia’s interest in Nabucco and Republic of Moldova. He also announced Romania would take over EU Council Presidency on the second semester of 2019. “We have already started up a reflection process inside MAE regarding what we have to do and what organizations we’ll have to create for our term”, he said.

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