Latvia’s Ambassador to Romania Ilgvars Klava on Wednesday said that there is a ‘realistic possibility’ for a decision to be reached during the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union concerning Romania’s accession to the Schengen area.
‘Related with the accession to the Schengen area, judging on the data we have, be believe it is a realistic possibility for a decision to be reached during the Latvian Presidency,’ the Latvian diplomat said, during a joint press conference with Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu, on the occasion of Latvia’s taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
According to Klava , quoted by Agerpres, the Latvian Presidency is determined to remove the remaining obstacles, so that Romania can become a Schengen area member.
‘We are working together on the security issues and on everything that means airports and the movement of some people who have criminal and terrorist intentions. Therefore we must work together on these security issues, but they shouldn’t be used as a pretext or as an excuse for not continuing the expansion of the Schengen area,’ the Ambassador pointed out.
Minister Bogdan Aurescu: Accession to the Schengen area, a very important objective for Bucharest
In his turn, the Romanian chief diplomat showed that the accession to the Schengen area represents a very important objective for Bucharest, Romania having already begun to act as a de facto Schengen state in terms of the efforts made for consolidating the internal security of the European Union.
‘We believe that a Romania inside the Schengen area, de jure, not only de facto, represents nothing but an added value, especially in the current internal security context,’ Aurescu said.
He also said that Romania’s external border, which is also the EU’s external border, is already defended as a Schengen border.
‘The equipment used is of the highest quality, some even exceed the performance of the ones used by states already in the Schengen area. As such, from this stand of practical, pragmatic cooperation, for combating the terrorist phenomenon, I believe Romania has no problem whatsoever in joining this effort. The only thing that must be underscored is that strengthening the control, the monitoring of the terrorist phenomenon, the measures that are going to be discussed and decided on a justice and interior ministers level (…) should not affect the fundamental freedoms and mostly this earned right, (…) the free movement of the EU citizens,’ the Romanian Minister said.
He added that modalities allowing the strengthening of the European Union security and safety, on the one hand, and keeping the fundamental freedoms, on the other hand, can be found.
Aurescu: European Union cannot afford to backpedal in its relation to its eastern partners
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, has stated, on Wednesday, that the European Union cannot afford to backpedal in its relation to its eastern partners and that it needs to calibrate its offer taking into account their political options and expectations.
“The Riga Summit is a very important objective. We will have to have an ambitious vision and to project to the future a veritable new roadmap for the Eastern Partnership, because I believe that the European Union cannot afford to backpedal from its eastern partners. It is a problem firstly of credibility for the European Union in its entirety and, at the same time, it is a correct attitude from a geopolitical point of view. The European Union must calibrate its offer taking into account the political options and expectations of the partners. Obviously, it needs to take into account their capacity to obtain results,” said Aurescu, during a joint press conference held with the Latvian Ambassador Ilgvars Klava, on the occasion of Latvia’s taking over of the rotational Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The head of Romanian diplomacy also said that a “more ambitious” regional cooperation may constitute a successful joint project that would lead to a “more safe and prosperous” vicinity of the European Union.
“I am referring here to the EU strategy for the Danube region, which has great potential for developing the riparian countries, both those in the European Union, and those outside the European Union from an economic and social standpoint,” said Bogdan Aurescu.
Romanian Foreign Minister: There is no reason for the sanctioning regime against Russia to be relaxed
Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu said also that for now there is no reason for the sanctioning regime against Russia to be relaxed, stating that ‘sustainable’ and ‘measurable’ progresses are needed so it could be changed.
‘In the Foreign Affairs Council, all foreign ministers said that there currently is no reason for the sanctioning regime to be relaxed, and from Romania’s point of view (…), to be able to think a possible relaxation of the sanctioning regime, we must have progresses in the territory and the progresses must be sustainable, measurable, so they can be monitored,’ Aurescu said within a joint press conference with Latvian Ambassador to Romania Ilgars Klava, on the occasion of Latvia’s taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Aurescu showed that these days not only a worsening of the security climate in the region is noted, but also more victims – dead and injured persons – in the conflict in the east of Ukraine.
‘We find an intensification of the hostilities, therefore sustainable progresses concerning the situation in the east of Ukraine would mean that the involved parties reach a conclusion concerning the direction of the contact line between the separatists and the rest of Ukraine, the monitoring of this contact line, the monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border in order to ban the entrance of equipment and personnel to the Ukrainian territory, the withdrawal of equipment, heavy artillery and the other military equipment in the adjacent area to the contact line,’ the Romanian chief diplomat added.
In his turn, Ilgvars Klava showed that the sanctions imposed on Russia are a response to the ‘illegal and unrecognized’ annexing of Crimea, but also to the military aggression in the east of Ukraine.
‘The direction of our Presidency [of the Council of the EU] is very clear, it corresponds with the recently adopted direction in the Foreign Affairs Council meeting and in the territory, in Ukraine, there have not been any signs of improvement of the situation allowing us to relax or change anything related to the sanctions against Russia. The only step that could change this situation would be a positive development in Ukraine and both sides know the kind of changes expected,’ the Latvian diplomat said.
He also said that Latvia, as EU state and Russia’s neighbour, is interested in having good relations with Moscow, but ‘the real situation is as it is.’