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February 5, 2023

PM Victor Ponta calls for pragmatic and constructive relationships with Russia

The Premier announced his visit to Lithuania. Schengen accession – still a target for year’s end.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta said in an interview for Agerpres that Romania had a “childish” way of relating to Russia in recent years, adding that he endorses pragmatic and constructive relations with the neighbouring country.
“I don’t see Russia as an enemy of Romania. It’s a neighbour and important partner for us and I think Romania had a ‘childish’ way of relating to Russia in recent years, for me to quote the President. We can be firm and defend our interests, but at the same time, we should be pragmatic and constructive in our relationship with Russia,” Victor Ponta said.
In the interview, Victor Ponta underscored the need for Romania to vigorously defend its interests, the diversification of gas supplies included.
“I do not hide the fact that I want us to have Russian investments, to maintain a normal relationship, but with an entity that practically holds the monopoly of gas supplies, like Gazprom does, one is inevitably in a weak position of negotiation. When one lands other variants too, whether they are called Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, or internal resources, one can better negotiate. In the end, the President has a rational approach here and I think nobody minds my saying this,” commented the head of the Government.
He mentioned that Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean will later this month pay a visit to Moscow, “with a political mandate to broaden and strengthen economic cooperation between the governments.”
Ponta also expressed confidence that more visits by dignitaries and ministers will follow Corlatean’s trip.
Ponta also said on Tuesday that he is going to pay a visit to Lithuania soon too, with this country currently holding the rotating EU presidency for the next half of year, to discuss with officials in Vilnius about the important topics for Romania, among which accession to the Schengen Zone.
“I will also pay a visit to Lithuania, to meet the Prime Minister there and the Lithuanian President, in order to discuss with them the important topics for Romania in the next half of year. I believe that for Romania the most important thing in the second half of 2013 will be to use in the most advantageous manner the unblocked European funds – with this being our top priority – to become more involved in the decisions made at European level, which in the next period will be related to the European Banking and Monetary Union and also to other common policies,” said Victor Ponta.
The head of the Romanian government also voiced hope Romania will get into the Schengen Zone, as soon as the progress made by the country ‘becomes clear foe everyone’. “But we will see the decision for sure by the end of the year: if the decision related to Schengen will be positive, it will be a very good thing for us, of course, but right now I think we should rather not make it from the Schengen issue our number one priority all the time. We should be more balanced and, once the progress we have made becomes clear for everyone, then the decision will come too,” said Ponta.
The Permanent Representative of Lithuania to EU, Raimundas Karoblis, has recently said that Romania and Bulgaria getting into the Schengen Zone issue might not appear among the priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council in the next half of year.
On the other hand, the Lithuanian Ambassador to Bucharest, Vladimir Jarmolenko, has recently stated, in an interview to Agerpres, that his country wants to closer work with Romania and Bulgaria, on one hand, and with the EU member states opposing the two countries being allowed to entry into the Schengen Zone, on the other hands, so as to avoid a blockage in the Council.

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