Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean believes that the MCV report should objectively note the “concrete and important” technical progress made by the Justice Ministry in particular but also the appointment of the attorney general and the chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), a process in which procedural steps were made.“(…) we have concrete, important steps, there is progress that I’m sure will be outlined in the future report (…) apart from this lively public debate on certain points that have to do with the MCV,” Corlatean stated in an interview for RRA. He pointed out that although the appointment of the attorney general and chief prosecutor of the DNA remains “in stand-by,” the agreement with the European Commission on a transparent procedure for the presentation of candidacies was “fully respected” and procedural steps were made. The minister added that in what concerns the “more political part” the 11 points outlined by the European Commission in the report last July were “in most part” solved. Corlatean also talked about Romania’s Schengen accession, stating that his Dutch counterpart Frans Timmermans knows Romania well and “has a certain degree of positive openness” on this issue, an issue that the two will discuss during two upcoming meetings. “He is a man with a lot of experience that knows the Romanian realities from his own experience, not from press reports. I say this because it is very important and there is a certain degree of positive openness I noticed since the start,” the Foreign Minister stated about Timmermans, who is Foreign Minister in the government that came to power in The Hague last autumn.
FM salutes US announcement on drop in visa refusal rates for Romanians
Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean received on January 15 the Chargé d’affaires ad interim of the US Embassy to Bucharest, Duane Butcher, reiterating Romania’s particular interest in being included in the Visa Waiver program. In this context, he welcomed the announcement recently made by the US authorities that the refusal rates of visa applications from Romanian citizens dropped to 17% in fiscal year 2011-2012, which confirms the declining trend in recent years. “I hope this trend continues in the future, including as a result of the relevant working sub-group set up as part of the Task Force for the implementation of the Joint Declaration, which will first convene on January 31, 2013. This decline, combined with the adoption of the bill on the agenda of the US Congress, which is aimed at altering the criteria for admission to the Visa Waiver program, would substantially contribute to attaining as soon as possible the goal of having the visa regime eliminated in the relationship with the USA,” the Romanian Foreign Minister said. During the meeting, an evaluation was also made of the political developments in Europe, with a focus on the European perspectives of the Western Balkan states and of those in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood.
Radu Stroe: Completing Schengen accession process – top priority
Interior Affairs Minister Radu Stroe late on Wednesday had a series of bilateral meetings with delegations from Poland, Finland and Bulgaria participating in the JAI Council in Dublin January 16-18, where he stressed that Romania’s priority in the forthcoming period was the completion of the process of accession to the Schengen area by the adoption of the decision to remove internal border checks on the JAI Council on March 7, 2013. A MAI release informs that the Finnish counterpart said Romania’s accession to Schengen was a political decision depending on the CVM report due at the end of January. During the talks with the Polish delegation, Romanian authorities reiterated their appreciation of the support they had received in the Schengen accession process as well as of the bilateral cooperation with Poland in the area of home affairs. The Romanian minister of interior also hailed the taking over by Poland of the Chairmanship of the Salzburg Forum on January 1, 2013. Secretary of State Piotr Stachanczyk on his part noted that Poland’s support for Romania relative to its Schengen entry was unchanged and that a support position for that would be also achieved on the Salzburg Forum. In his dialogue with the Bulgarian party, Radu Stroe appreciated the excellent ministerial cooperation and the intention to further pursue them, including from the point of view of the two country’s accession to Schengen.