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May 22, 2022
POLITICS

Basescu refuses to sign Schengen bid letter, leaves Ponta baffled

President Traian Basescu held a press conference at the Otopeni Airport before leaving for the European Council meeting in Brussels, where a new deal on the next budget was expected late last night
President Traian Basescu held a press conference yesterday before leaving for Brussels where he will take part in the European Council summit. “I publicly said it before: a simple request to join the Schengen Area is pointless. You know very well my stance that Schengen should not be linked with the MCV. I would like to talk about the success foreshadowed today: the Romanian Parliament has adopted a coherent legislation from the standpoint of the MPs’ immunity. My option is that before sending a letter asking for our Schengen accession we should show them that we understood the EU’s message in what concerns the rule of law,” the President stated.

Premier Victor Ponta announced on Monday in Brussels that he will present to the President a draft of the letter that will be sent to the EU heads of state and government asking them to support Romania’s Schengen accession bid, adding that the document could be taken by the Head of State to the European Council summit yesterday. Prior to that, Premier Ponta had informed the EC President that he intends to send to all EU heads of state and government a letter signed by him, President Basescu and the Speakers of the two Chambers of Parliament, asking for a favorable decision on Romania’s Schengen accession bid.

Basescu stated on Sunday that he utterly supports maintaining Romania’s Schengen accession bid on the agenda in March, the basis for that consisting of the progress noted by the MCV report on the functioning of institutions.

PSD spokesperson Catalin Ivan said that the fact that President Traian Basescu did not sign the letter concerning Romania’s Schengen accession is worrisome, saying that his refusal is raising question marks.
At the same time, he stated that it is worrisome that Traian Basescu is linking the MCV with Romania’s Schengen accession, considering that the MCV has nothing to do with Schengen and it is used by the EU states that want to block Romania’s accession.

Basescu to push for EU-Moldova agreement

Basescu announced the points that the European Council will tackle, namely the international trade’s contribution to economic growth and job creation. “On this point our priority is the request for the agreement between Romania and the Republic of Moldova to be finalized as quickly as possible, in order for this agreement between the EU and the Republic of Moldova to be signed in November in Vilnius.” At the same time, the President said that the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, the Arab Spring in particular, will also be debated at the summit. “The situation in Syria, the situation in Mali will be debated. In case the issue of contributions for Mali is raised, Romania decided during this week’s Supreme Defence Council meeting to contribute with military instructors and possibly staff officers, as well as important quantities of military materiel for Mali,” Basescu added.

The multi-annual financial framework 2014-2020 was however the crucial point on the agenda of the Council meeting.
“The essence of the debate in November had to do with the budget cut level compared to the European Commission’s proposal. Back then there were states that asked for the budget to be cut by EUR 200 bln, others asked for the budget to remain unchanged. What was agreed in November was for the cut to total EUR 100 bln. As a consequence, the negotiations will resume from the stage in which they were left off, namely during the previous Council the budget was cut by EUR 70 bln and this Council’s stakes is where another EUR 30 bln should be cut from in order to thus reach the EUR 100 bln figure.”

Basescu also talked about Romania’s goals at this summit. “We will see what the games are within the Council. Romania will ask for the EUR 30 bln not to be cut from the agricultural policy or from cohesion funds,” Basescu pointed out. He added that Romania will try to obtain eligible VAT “at least on some segments: cohesion funds for example, where the VAT is very high, especially since we also have a VAT close to the limit.”

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