Danish presidency will work hard for a solution on Schengen accession

Minister Leonard Orban: “Prospects do not seem very optimistic”.

Denmark stand steady to welcome Romania and Bulgaria as full members of the Schengen area, said the Denmark Ambassador in Bucharest, Michael Sternberg at the  press conference  held yesterday to mark the beginning of the Danish Presidency of the EU,  where the Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi and minister for European Affairs, Leonard Orban also took the floor. The Danish Ambassador said that even if it seems the Dutch Government has little room for maneuver because of domestic political reasons, Danish presidency will work hard to facilitate a solution on this matter. “Even though we do not accept the link to CVM, it will of course be very important that Romania continues the outgoing efforts, so that there can be no doubt that Romania is clearly on the right track,” said Michael Sternberg.

In his turn, the Romanian Minister of European Affairs, Leonard Orban said that Romania does not have very optimistic prospects of gaining Schengen membership, given the firm opinion of The Netherlands that at least two CVM reports are needed. “We will continue to exert pressure and will further be extremely active, also through diplomatic efforts. (…) We were often told: <<The fact that you do not accede to Schengen now, largely is not your fault, but is a consequence of the problems currently experienced by the Schengen Zone>>. You can figure how we took these messages,” Orban said.

FM Teodor Baconschi said he hoped a decision would be taken this semester. “We are counting on the Danish Presidency’s support to reach a political decision on Romania and Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen this semester,” said Baconschi.

According to Orban, the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) – very useful at home – has become, at European level, “an instrument that sometimes is used against the Romanian state’s interests.” “I want we notice that this mechanism will somehow be transformed into something applicable to all member states. (…) If this mechanism is equally enforced by all member states, we will probably have very interesting classifications, and this image (Romania’s image of corrupt country) will be attenuated,” Orban commented. Starting 2013, a mechanism aimed at monitoring the fight against corruption will be implemented by all member states, he added.

Minister Orban also explained that he will ask the EC to explain whether the extension of labour market restrictions enforced by nine member states is justified, given the Accession Treaty stipulates that such measures may only be instated in exceptional conditions. In his turn, FM Baconschi appreciated that a dynamic single market can be achieved with Denmark at the helm of Europe, and that Romania will continue to promote this goal in the relation with the member states that further restrict the access of Romanian and Bulgarian workers to their labour markets.

Minister Orban also announced that, together with FM Baconschi, he decided to hold, in early February, a special press conference that will mark 5 years since Romania became a member of the EU. “We must sum up the good things, but also those that are still unaccomplished,” Orban stated.

Four key objectives

Ambassador Sternberg said the Danish EU Presidency assumed four main priorities: to ensure an economically responsible Europe, to help the EU return to growth, to promote a green agenda and to ensure a secure Europe, both externally and internally.

“Danish Presidency will put a lot of effort into pushing the agenda of stronger economic governance, of better economic surveillance procedures and of promoting the requirements of the euro-plus pack (…) Another major item on our Presidency agenda will be the EU’s multiannual budget (…) Our ambition is that much more EU-funding should go into research and development, education, energy efficiency and green technologies,” said the Ambassador, adding  his country will support the adoption of the EU Patent no later than during Danish Presidency. In Denmark’s opinion, Europe needs to upscale its investments in renewable energy, by creating new knowledge-based jobs in Europe in the short term and advancing projects developed by European scientists. Both Foreign Minister Baconschi and the Minister of European Affairs, Leonard Orban voiced their support for the agenda of the Danish Presidency. “We support the priorities of the Danish Presidency and will closely cooperate with the Danish partners in order to achieve these objectives,” Orban stated.

Viorel Ardeleanu, proposed for Romanian Ambassador to Denmark

Matei Viorel Ardeleanu, national coordinator of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region, was proposed for the office of Romanian ambassador to Denmark and Iceland, according to official sources quoted by Mediafax. Ardeleanu is a career diplomat holding the rank of Minister Counsellor and previously acted as deputy president of Romania’s Permanent Representation to the EU. “I’ve remitted the chairs of the two Chambers’ foreign policy committees over ten new proposals for ambassadors. As soon as the Parliament goes back to work, we will have a new ambassador in Copenhagen,” Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi stated yesterday, in response to a query on this topic.

The chairman of the Senate’s foreign policy committee, Titus Corlatean (Social-Democrat Party) voiced in turn his regret at the delay in appointing an ambassador to Denmark, the country in charge of the EU presidency, qualifying it as “a tactical error”. The position of ambassador to Denmark has been vacant since mid-2011 following Victor Micula’s recall from office to be appointed ambassador to Hungary.

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