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December 6, 2021

Ponta: In case of failure I will resume Schengen effort for October

The Premier stated on Tuesday evening, after his visit to Copenhagen, that he assured the European leaders that there won’t be a political crisis until the presidential elections. At the same time, he said that the co-habitation with Basescu continues to work.

USL representatives have responded to President Traian Basescu who harshly criticized them on Tuesday evening in a press conference organized at the Presidential Palace, blaming them for the possible failure of Romania’s Schengen accession bid. Thus, Premier Ponta stated that in case a negative decision is taken on Romania’s Schengen accession bid at the JHA Council in March he will resume the accession efforts for October, pointing out that unlike President Basescu he has plenty of years ahead to obtain results, not to register failure after failure. “He (Basescu – editor’s note) knows very well that the decision that will be taken or will be postponed in March mainly has to do with the internal political considerations of one state or the another, not of Romania, but the important thing is that I am determined that all government representatives will continue these diplomatic efforts until the day of the JHA Council. If in March it is postponed again, as it was in 2011, we will do the same efforts in October,” Ponta said. The Premier pointed out he does not want to comment on the President’s statements, arguing that he, as Prime Minister is “working” while the President is busy “throwing the monkey wrench.” He added that he is not interested in the Head of State’s insults towards the USL leaders, pointing out however that he noticed that the Head of State is becoming the main opponent of Romania’s Schengen accession, finding on a daily basis reasons as to why our Schengen accession should not be accepted, reasons he possibly suggests to the country’s European partners. “I met European Prime Ministers with which I talked about the Schengen accession, and none of them offered the arguments President Basescu is offering in order for us not to be accepted,” Ponta pointed out. At the same time, the Head of Government assured the European leaders during the visits he conducted so far that he will continue to send out the message that Romania will no longer face a political crisis until the presidential elections, irrespective of what the President states. “Everywhere I go, to Brussels, Vienna, Paris, Copenhagen, I gave assurances with all my honesty, and I’m doing it with all conviction, that Romania will no longer have any kind of political crisis until presidential elections when a new president will be elected, and that irrespective of what President Basescu states – because fortunately he can no longer do anything – I will treat him with condescendence.” In this context he pointed out that the co-habitation with President Basescu continues to work despite the latest statements made by the President, pointing out that the President has not done anything to infringe on the government’s constitutional prerogatives. On the other hand, the Premier states President Basescu is engaged in an electoral campaign from the Presidency, backing his favorite candidate for the PDL leadership: “His words mean nothing, neither for me nor for Romanians as I have realized. Maybe they mean something for the members of PDL who have to vote Mr. President’s favorite candidate as their leader. (…) It’s ridiculous and I believe it places him in a bad situation.” On the other hand, he reiterated he will not send to the President the proposal to recall Transportation Minister Relu Fenechiu. Asked whether it is true that the Head of State informed him, prior to forming the government that he will suspend him the day after he nominates Relu Fenechiu as member of the government, Ponta answered: “Yes.”

Basescu remains the same “political schemer,” Antonescu says

Speaker of the Senate Crin Antonescu stated on Tuesday evening that while Traian Basescu remains “the same political schemer,” both he and the Premier are trying to act in order to accede to the Schengen Area. “We know Traian Basescu for eight years. The same character unable to play the role of Romanian President, the same political schemer we know. While he is creating false reasons (for Romania not to be accepted in the Schengen Area – editor’s note) I am trying, just like the Premier, to do what is in our duty and power to do for Romania’s interest,” Antonescu stated. “Mr. Basescu’s calumnies and accusations do not deserve an answer from my point of view,” the Senate Speaker stated, pointing out that Fenechiu’s presence in the government has nothing to do with Romania’s Schengen accession. “The law of ministerial responsibility that Traian Basescu himself invoked very clearly shows that a minister cannot be replaced or recalled for a court case that dates back prior to him taking office,” Antonescu added. On the other hand, PDL MEP Theodor Stolojan claims that the internal disputes between the President and USL on the Schengen issue do not help our country at all, pointing out that Romania would have been already accepted had there been no coup d’état attempt in 2012.

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