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January 17, 2022

President Iohannis voices dissatisfaction with mandatory immigrant quotas

The Interior Minister’s mandate at the Justice and Home Affairs Council to gather on Sept. 14 is to not declare Romania’s adherence to the mandatory quotas of immigrants, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday, also voicing dissatisfaction at the European Commission’s announcement regarding the setting up of mandatory quotas for the EU members.

IntMin mandated at JHA Council to not declare adherence to mandatory immigrant quotas

“I have noted with some dissatisfaction this project unveiled in the European Parliament, namely the fact that the Commission had worked on a rather bureaucratic project that was presented. In my opinion, it will not lead to a solution to the problem, anyway we are dealing with a project that also sets details that might not have been necessary at this phase, [details] relating the number of immigrants that can be allotted to various states. The JHA Council meets in an extraordinary session on Monday, September 14, to discuss this matter. Romania will be represented by the interior minister, with whom I had a discussion this morning and the interior minister’s mandate at the JHA meeting is to not declare our adherence to the mandatory quotas”, Iohannis said at the presidential Cotroceni Palace.

When asked if Romania does not accept more than 1,785 refugees in any way, the president stressed “we are not talking about figures here. We are talking about people, not components that must be counted, we are talking about the immigrants who come to Europe. Secondly, we are talking about the solidarity that Romania has not merely declared, but also showed by the offers to receive what is for us a large number of refugees, which we consider not to be a solution and I do not think it is timely to speak of mandatory quotas calculated in a very bureaucratic manner, accountancy-like I might say, without consulting the member states”.

Romania should receive 4,646 of 120,000 new refugees from Italy, Greece and Hungary, according to the urgent redistribution scheme of the refugees among the European Union members, which is part of a seven-item plan aimed to resolve the refugee crisis facing the EU, according to a release of the European Commission made public in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

In May, Romania had also been assigned a 1,705 refugee quota from the first 40,000 refugee batch located in Italy and Greece.

The first item of the plan, consisting in an emergency relocation of the refugees says that 604 of the 4,646 refugees to be relocated to Romania are in Italy, while 1,951 are in Greece and 2,091 in Hungary.

The measures for the emergency relocation of 120,000 refugees (54,000 of whom are in Hungary, 50,400 in Greece and 15,500 in Italy) would ease the pressure from the three countries while at the same time would help the member states faced with a growing number of asylum applications by enabling a swifter processing of those applications.

ForMin Aurescu: EC’s proposals are mere proposals, I have not noticed any penalties

Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu has argued that the proposals of the European Commission regarding migrant quotas are mere proposals on which the European Union member states will have to agree by means of negotiations.

According to him, the European Commission has not decided to enforce penalties on the member states that are unable to take in refugees temporarily.

“The proposals of the Commission are mere proposals. They are to be negotiated, discussed and agreed upon by the member states. The first step in the negotiating process is September 14, at an extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council. It is important to point out, from Romania’s perspective, as the prime minister was also saying, that no country can take in more than its capacity to accommodate and socially integrate refugees. (…) I have not noticed mention of penalties either in the plan of the European Commission or the speech of its president. There is an idea in the plan that was submitted yesterday that the member states that cannot take in for an indicated period of time of 12 months refugees to their soil for objective reasons will have to pay a financial compensation of 0.002 percent of their respective Gross Domestic Products (GDP). But even that is subjected to negotiations with the member states,” Aurescu said Thursday after meeting members of Romanian Senate’s Committee on European Affairs.

According to Aurescu, the JHA Council meeting will first of all unveil the national positions of all the EU member states, with Romania to show up with a consolidated stance built on the mandate awarded by the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT).

“Evidently, all aspects [will be discussed], not only those regarding the quotas, but also tackling refugees in the source countries and the assistance to be granted to such countries, the kinds of actions to be conducted. We cannot hypothetically say what will happen. We have to wait and see what will happen at the JHA Council meeting. (…) An analysis of the proposals put forth by the European Commission yesterday [Wednesday], both the ones included in the Commission president’s speech and those part of the package forwarded for consideration to the member states will be the basis for the mandate to be awarded by CSAT. Consequently, it will be a consolidated stance of Romania,” the Romanian chief diplomat explained, according to Agerpres.

Defence Minister: We are solidary with immigrants, but their number cannot be forced on us

National Defence Minister Mircea Dusa in Curtea de Arges on Thursday said that the number of migrants communicated by the European Commission corresponding to Romania cannot be forced on the country, but must be negotiated.

“It was clearly stated that our representatives in the JHA don’t accept these migrant figures, they cannot be forced on us, they must be negotiated and I believe that, in the end, by means of dialogue a solution will be also found on a European level. Of course, we are solidary with those who migrate to Europe; we are human beings and Romanians are accomodating and well-intended, but things cannot be forced and the figures must be negotiated taking into account the capacity of each country. This topic will be analysed next week in the the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) meeting. The Interior Ministry, which manages the migrant issue, has made the necessary clarifications with the migrant accommodation capacity in the reception centres. I believe what Mr Aurescu said, when the figure exceeding 4,000 emigrants was made public, that this is a proposal and not a decision. This topic will be discussed in the JHA meeting and Romania’s representative is mandated not to accept these figures,” Minister Dusa said in Curtea de Arges while attending the reception ceremony of 33rd Posada Mountain Huntsmen Battalion after it conducted a 6-month mission in Afghanistan.

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