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October 19, 2021

Refugee issue generates new Parliament committee

The Defence, Foreign Policy, European Affairs and Schengen Accession Committees and president’s adviser Leonard Orban and Foreign and Interior secretaries of state discussed the matter of the refugees on Tuesday.

The Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Laszlo Borbely, said, after the meeting that a consensus had been reached on setting up a special Parliament committee on migration.

‘Seven Committees from the Chamber of Deputies and Senate had to convene to address a matter that falls under the competence of several committees. If we had a committee or at least a sub-committee on such matters, we would have known where to channel the information and would have a bit more structure in the Romanian Parliament. (…) We had consensus on setting up a committee in Parliament specialising in migration, asylum-seekers and refugees. There are such committees in almost all EU states’, Borbely said after the debates.

The MP noted that they had also talked about the need to analyse the existing legislation and amend it in order to match the situation generated by the presence of a large number of refugees in Romania.

‘It is not only about providing conditions for the immigrates to come, have somewhere to stay and get food and water, it’s about their integration, those who wish to stay in Romania and have legal permission to remain, their integration in the society, which is a more complex thing’, Laszlo Borbely explained.

In the opening of the meeting, he said the issue of immigrants was a sensitive one and insisted on the need to correctly inform the general public on Romania’s position and exact number of refugees the country is able to host.

‘I insist on passing correct information first of all among institutions as we’ll as on a correct information of the citizens, because the number of asylum-seekers we receive, Romania’s position are of interest to everybody.

It’s a sensitive issue. What we see for now is, if not hesitation, at least insecurity in the European Union regarding the positions of the various member states’, said Laszlo Borbely.

The MP also pointed out that the matter of the refugees had to be dealt with, because those people could not be left in the street.


Iohannis: In the refugee crisis, we have the advantage of not being members of Schengen


President Klaus Iohannis declared on Monday evening that, during the CSAT meeting due on September 17, besides the topic of refugees, one of the themes to be discussed will be an analysis of the status of the Schengen file for Romania.

Asked during his press conference held at Cotroceni Palace whether being outside Schengen Space was an advantage in the context of the refugees’ crisis in Europe, the Head of the state answered: “Paradoxically, yes!”.

“This time, it was an advantage for us that nobody could enter Romania through a route that was impossible to supervise. Let us be realistic: An increasing number of European leaders and relevant politicians demand a new analysis of the Schengen space and of the way it is working.. We also introduced on the CSAT agenda an analysis of the status of the Schengen file for Romania”, the President outlined.

Moreover, he mentioned that our country may receive a maximum number of 1,785 refugees and that this number “may only increase if we want to receive more of them.”

“Romania is no member of Schengen and, therefore, nobody can enter the country for simply wanting to, but only if they fulfil legal requirements. We have no such issues. It is a matter of principle and we will not be faced by what some of our neighbours endured, such as being confronted with sudden threat”, Klaus Iohannis declared.


 Victor Ponta: “The President’s announce straightened out things”


Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced on Tuesday he will talk with President Klaus Iohannis about the number of refugees Romania can host; he mentioned that such a dialogue was possible before the sitting of the Supreme Council for Country’s Defence, convened by the President on September 17.

“The President’s announce straightened out things: Romania does not agree with mandatory quotas [of migrants]; Romania can receive right now – the President said 1,780 [refugees], for which about 200 places are already occupied. This is the number we can manage, and I’m glad we have a common position,” Ponta declared at the headquarters of the Social Democrat Party, where a meeting of leaders of the ruling coalition was hosted.

The Prime Minister also brought up on Monday the issue of Romania joining the Schengen Space, when he was asked questions regarding the topic of immigrants and the refugees that might be received in Romania.

“Solidarity means both obligations and rights, therefore, if they want us to assume the same amount of obligations, they should give us the same rights. Romania has endured an act of injustice in the matter of Schengen. The countries demanding us solidarity now are the countries that keep delaying our entrance to Schengen”, the Prime Minister also mentioned.

The former President Traian Basescu also embraced a similar position in this matter. He mentioned on Sunday evening that, if he was still the President, he would have declared “I am not in Schengen, so leave me out of this.”

The same opinion is shared by PSD leader Liviu Dragnea. He thinks that the quota of immigrants should be based on volunteering, and not imposed. He also demanded public institutions a serious analysis on Romania’s real capacity of receiving immigrants.

The topic of the immigrant crisis was discussed on Tuesday by foreign politics commissions in the Parliament, and the opposition even proposed a workgroup dedicated to this topic.

Romania’s official position will be established after the CSAT meeting due next week, when they will also establish the maximum number of refugees we can provide accommodation to.


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