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May 10, 2021

Justice Minister about Schengen, CVM and detaching Romania from Bulgaria

Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc does not exclude the possibility that Romania and Bulgaria could be detached in being evaluated by the European Commission, as far as the fight against corruption is concerned. He declared on Sunday evening, at Digi24, that Romania was obviously was ahead Bulgaria, which “entitles” our country to demand “an adequate treatment” from behalf of Brussels.

“The things should be clarified politically and legally as well”, Minister Robert Cazanciuc explained, when questioned whether Romania could be detached from Bulgaria, meaning that one of them could be removed from the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) earlier than the other. “At the time being, we are in an evaluation that shows Romania to be way ahead of Bulgaria. Things have obviously advanced a lot, compared to previous years, which entitles Romania to demand Brussels an adequate treatment for the progress made”, the Minister declared. “It may be translated by a decision that could be as fast as possible, regarding other mechanisms Romania is involved in at the time being”, Robert Cazanciuc declared, mentioning that he was referring to Schengen, first of all.


A partial joining of Schengen, more likely next March


A decision regarding joining Schengen with aerial borders could be assumed this year, Minister Cazanciuc declared. “As things stand at the time being, a political decision could be gained this year, so that, at the beginning of next year, we could talk about an opening for airports and sea ports, at an initial stage”, Robert Cazanciuc declared for Digi24. “Nonetheless, there are hesitations of certain European capital when it comes to supporting this political decision”, the Justice Minister warned. “Our duty inside of the country is to show European partners that they should not have such hesitations. On the contrary, Romania’s presence in the Schengen area could bring a safety bonus”, Robert Cazanciuc added.

There will be two Justice – Internal Affairs Councils (JAI) this year, one in June and one in September. These are the moments a political decision could be adopted. “I think that June would be a little bit too early to reach such a decision, but there is plenty of time until autumn to persuade our European partners not to have hesitations towards Romania in opening the gates of Schengen for sea ports and airports”, Robert Cazanciuc declared for the TV show “Impartial” at Digi24.

If the political decision is reached in autumn, it will come to force during spring, perhaps, as a period of implementation would be required. “Certainly, March could be a more than reasonable deadline. It is finally a natural expectation of ours”, Minister Robert Cazanciuc concluded.


10,000 more places would be needed in penitentiaries


Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc also declared for Digi24 that Romania needed 10,000 more places in penitentiaries, besides the 20,000 that were already there. “At the time being, there are 44 penitentiary units, including 34 actual penitentiaries, six prison hospitals and four juvenile institutions, under the situation that the number of prisoners has reached approximately 30,000 in the last few years. Certainly, we need 30,000 places for detention that could meet some standards for the next few years. Based on what we have now, we need 10,000 more places”, the Minister explained in the “Impartial” TV show, broadcasted by Digi24. Robert Cazanciuc declared that, in the last few years, there were 2,500 accommodation places for prisoners built in Romania according to standards. “We included investments in the budget of the Penitentiary Administration so that we could have 5,000 more accommodation seats until 2020, according to standards, on the present infrastructure of the penitentiaries”, Robert Cazanciuc pointed out. He also mentioned that the Minister had initiated soon the studies for two new penitentiaries, one near Ploiesti and one in the vicinity of Craiova, where the existing prisons are overcrowded and located in the centre of the cities.


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