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February 1, 2023

“Romania should have become a Schengen Area member a long time ago

Diego Brasioli, Italy’s Ambassador to Bucharest:

The position of the Italian Government in the Schengen topic is very simple. Italy considers that Romania has fulfilled the technical criteria required for entering the Schengen area, for many years. This fact was also acknowledged by the European Council in 2011. The only thing left is taking the political decision. Romania was supposed to be a member of the Schengen community for a long time, yet, a consensus must be reached; because a unanimous solution is needed and Italy has always supported Romania’s admittance to the Schengen area. Any time Romania has opened the subject, Italia has offered full support, Brasioli declared. “A likely solution may be entering in two stages; the first would only include sea and air borders, and the second would imply terrestrial borders as well”, the Ambassador explained. “Italy’s position is simple, because the entrance in the Schengen area depends on the fulfilling of given criteria and those were acted upon. Then, there is this Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification (MCV), which is responsible of other things. And certainly, this file still includes unsolved things, such as corruption and the independence of justice. And this is exactly why this mechanism of verification is still working, but we think there are two different things, that should remain different. As for the evolution of the MCV file, Romania should make a progress and is making it already, and we salute that. Moreover, the relations of our countries regarding, by example, police cooperation, are excellent”, the Ambassador declared.
Asked what the priorities of the Italian presidency of the EU were and what the solutions for the economical crisis in Europe were, Diego Brasioli declared that Italy was making great efforts in order to re-launch its economy. “Our priorities are numerous. One of the top issues of this moment is, obviously, the attempt to solve this economical crisis that affects all countries in Europe, to a smaller or greater extent. Latest data shows that all European countries are impacted by this crisis, more or less. For Italy and other European countries, the challenge relies in the attempt to re-launch economy, especially for young people. Our greatest effort is to stop unemployment, especially in young people and, in order to create steady increase, we grant greater attention to rules that must be followed”, the official declared.
“Romania’s entrance in the EU is still recent and, so far, only the positive effects of this integration are noticeable”
Brasioli also referred to the success of anti-European parties at the latest elections for the European Parliament. “I noticed the success gained by anti-European parties. It is interesting that, in Italy, the leading coalition registered a major success, while the parties opposing the system had weak results. Romania is a special example, because it has no representatives of EU adversaries in the national Parliament or in the European Parliament”, Brasioli declared, mentioning that the reason is represented by the Romanians’ trust in the European Union. “Romania’s entrance in the EU is still recent and, so far, only the positive effects of this integration are noticeable; from this point of you, Romania is still a significant example at this time. Therefore, it is natural that a Government such as Italy’s, a pro-European leadership, would find a similarly strong ally in the Romanian Government. This is a source of hope for the future”, Brasioli added.
Asked whether there are still legal issues caused by Romanians from the communities established in Italy, the Ambassador declared that there is nothing out of the ordinary, that difficult episodes are over and that Romanians are appreciated for their hard work. “By example, the number of Romanian convicts in Italy is proportional with the Romanian community, which is the greatest community of foreigners in our country. There is no extraordinary situation, as far as the criminal statistics of Romanian immigrants are concerned. In the past, there were these difficult episodes that really had a great impact on the public opinion, yet, they are over now. I must mention that, by now, Italy’s perception of Romanians has changed and most Romanians living in Italy are seen as hardworking people who are honestly working and who contribute to the increase of the Italian economy. I think that there is no family in Italy who has no contact with at least one Romanian citizen: as a neighbour, as an employee, as a collaborator or as an entrepreneur. After the initial years of trouble, a feeling of respect and trust appeared. When negative episodes occur, they are seen as an exception, not as a rule, without having a damaging impact upon the image of the Romanian community. Actually, strong relations have been built so far and I think that the entire Romanian community enjoys genuine appreciation in Italy”, the Ambassador of the mentioned country outlined.
“Italian companies are mostly satisfied with the Romanian business environment”
Diego Brasioli also expressed his contentment regarding the level of Italian investment in Romania and showed that Italy was on the leading position in a chart of foreign companies with Romanian branches; moreover, Italian companies may be found in all productive fields. “As figures shows, we are talking about a great involvement by small and medium enterprises, due to the fact that they represent the greatest part of the traditional structure of the Italian economy. And investments in Romania also follow this pattern. There are great industrial corporations who may be found here, such as Pirelli and Tenaris. (…) We are content for now, but we are confident that we can do better in the future.” As for the issues Italian investors in Romania are confronted with, the Ambassador admitted that bureaucracy was the top problem of the list. “Italian companies are mostly satisfied with the Romanian business environment. Obviously, there are difficulties, especially in certain domains, especially for great investments because there is, honestly, the issue of bureaucracy. It mainly affects the fields of major works, such transportation and infrastructure, the official explained. He also added that another problem was represented by the absorption of European funds, but an improvement is noticeable in this domain. “Another issue of the Romanian economy is represented by the absorption of European funds. During the last years, there were discussions related to the low level of absorption. We enthusiastically saluted the attention granted by the Government to this issue, as it created a Ministry especially for European funds. And we immediately noticed that the level of efficiency in the use of European funds significantly increased. Obviously, there are many more to do on this path. Actually, Italy also encountered the same issues, as it did not manage to absorb all European funds, especially in Southern Italy. And we managed to change this tendency, too, but it is obvious there is much more to do”, Brasioli declared, also mentioning the key to this achievement: the adaptation of the bureaucratic system to UE exigencies. “Funds are available, but, unfortunately, this bureaucracy wastes much of our time and efficiency. The decision to create a Ministry, led by Minister Teodorovici, especially dedicated to this issue, is a very clever solution”, the Italian official declared.

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