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August 8, 2022

PNL’s Blaga says Romania unprepared to cope with EU migrant quota

Co-chair of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Vasile Blaga told TVR public broadcaster on Monday evening that from his experience as a former interior minister he can say that Romania lacks the capacity to take in thousands of refugees.

”The situation of refugees is a special one (…) The problem is not so much being ready to take in your quota [the migrant quota established by the European Union for each of its member states], something that is up for debate – feeding, housing, making efforts. Romania lacks the capacities right now. As a former interior minister I can tell you that our capacities are limited in the centres for the reception of refugees. We have a high transit centre in Timisoara for thousands of people, but its mission is something else. It was created during the wars in Yugoslavia. It is for receiving people, registering them, identifying them and accommodating them for relocation,” said Blaga.

He also said Europe should have a uniform position when managing what he calls the serious problem of refugees, adding that if he attended a meeting on refugees as interior minister he would raise the issue of Romania’s entering the border-free Schengen Area because Romania has been fulfilling the membership criteria for many years now.

“I would very clearly explain what our capacities are, while on the other hand I would ask for money, because the EU has money for such circumstances. Hungary received some 84 million euros to erect its [border] walls. I would never make a barbed-wire fence. What I would also do I would tell our colleagues ‘yes, we agree to discuss solidarity as the main principle, the principle on which the founding fathers built the EU, but if it came to solidarity, then we want to be in the Schengen Area as well because we are fulfilling the membership requirements,'” said Blaga.

He pointed out that immigrants have an easy time transiting on their way to Germany or other destination countries that are in the Schengen Area.

”I cannot help but notice, as [Germany’s Chancellor] Merkel and other do, as a non-Schengen Area member, that those people enter Europe through the Schengen Area, they travel in that area. There are obligations in the area on those who defend the external borders, starting with identification, because, as you can see, they talk about the Islamic State being infiltrated there, things like that. They cross the area like there is no barrier. Many are now glad they can transit through Serbia; Hungary has announced today it will embark them on a train bound for Germany. This is no way of managing things. Europe must h

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