POLITICS

French Gov’t says Romania not meeting conditions to join the Schengen area




PM Ponta: There is no connection between Roma ethnics and Schengen. French President Francois Hollande supports Valls’ statements; Romania will be refused the Schengen accession, according to a source from Élysée.
There is no connection between Schengen and Roma ethnics, said on Thursday Prime Minister Victor Ponta, mentioning that he puts his confidence in the official statements of the Government in Paris on the position of France towards Romania’s accession to the Schengen space.

“France will express its opinion, and expressed it in Bucharest by the French Prime Minister, namely, on the one hand, surely, and here is the responsibility of the Romanian Government and of Romania to implement Roma ethnics integration strategy, and this is a responsibility not only in relation to France, but to the whole of Europe, in collaboration with the European Commission, and we are doing this. As you know very well, there is no connection between Roma ethnics and Schengen for the simple reason that Romania is not part of the Schengen space now, but Roma are there. So, there is no link, neither in practice and much less judicially,” Ponta said at the Parliament House, where he attended the Bucharest Forum 2013.
As concerns the existence of some “sources” in the Elysee Palace, according to which the President of France would assume the position of the French Minister of the Interior, in the sense of a rejection of Romania’s integration into Schengen, Ponta said it would be “very stupid” for him to comment “the Elysee sources”.
“I trust the official statements of the French Government, confirmed by the Embassy of France to Bucharest. I wish to continue working with the Ministry of the Interior of France to combat eventual offenses, to implement together with the EC the strategy for Roma integration, but the link between Roma and Schengen, pure and simply, does not exist. Roma are there, we are not in Schengen. So, there is no connection of one to another. The same with lifting interdictions in the labor market in the UK. You know very well, from January 1 all interdictions will be lifted, in Great Britain and in other European countries, and there is no connection with Roma, because Roma are already there, they did not wait for January 1,” the Executive’s head claimed.
He added that, in this case, it is about a “media speculation” and an “internal political battle”. “We, also, in our internal political battle say a lot of things which we hope will not be translated outside the country,” Ponta concluded.
An Elysee source quoted on Wednesday by Europe1.fr said that French president Francois Hollande (photo) has assumed the position of the French Internal Affairs minister Valls regarding the Roma ethnics and a direct consequence of this firm direction is that Romania will be refused to join the Schengen area on January 1st because the country doesn’t meet the conditions.
French Government Spokesman: Conditions for joining the Schengen are not met
French government spokesman, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, told on Thursday morning the radio station RMC that the conditions for Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen area are not met. “We believe that the conditions (for Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen) are not met and we are not the only ones (to think so),” said Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.
According to the website of the publication “Journal du Dimanche”, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain also refuse the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area.

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