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May 17, 2022

Orban, reserved about Schengen accession optimist outlook

European Affairs Minister Leonard Orban said yesterday that he is extremely reserved in giving an optimist outlook for a future decision on Romania’s Schengen accession, given that at least one member state is very reluctant and inflexible on the matter for the time being. In comments quoted by Mediafax, Orban said the topic could nonetheless be discussed at the European Council meeting scheduled on October 17-18. “We have very intense negotiations with certain member states. Unfortunately, we will say it openly, the current political situation, in at least one member state, determined the decision at the last Justice and Home Affairs Council in September,” he said. A decision on Romania’s and Bulgaria’s Schengen accession was postponed by the Justice and Home Affairs Council after the Polish EU presidency did not submit the matter to vote. The move followed overt opposition to Schengen enlargement from The Netherlands and Finland. Orban made the comments about Schengen while heard by the Senate’s agriculture committee. During the hearing, Orban also said that the amounts allocated to Romania in the EU budget for 2014-2020 could be increased. “(…) We are speaking of important extra funds for Romania, both in what regards the common agriculture policy and the cohesion policy,” the minister said. He added that Romania will negotiate funds in the EU 2014-202 budget as aggressively as possible, but will not be able to obtain much more than what the European Commission is offering.

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