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January 23, 2022

Refugee crisis: President Iohannis to attend European Council extraordinary meeting on September 23

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis on September 23 will be attending an extraordinary meeting in Brussels of the Council of the European Union, official sources said Friday.
At Germany’s request, an extraordinary summit meeting of the European Council will be held in Brussels on September 23 amidst an ongoing migration crisis one day after the EU interior ministers are expected to meet to tackle the same issue.
From Brussels, President Iohannis will fly to New York to attend a United Nations summit.

President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday that, if the EU made Romania receive more refugees than the available places, the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) members had suggested that we should use European funds for expanding the immigrant reception facilities and building new reception centres.
‘It is possible that, under a procedure to be applied next week, the EU may force us to receive more refugees than the places that we have available. It’s a scenario that we do not want, which, in my opinion, is not going to help deal with the issue of the refugees, but one that, at least theoretically speaking, is possible, so we discussed what could happen also in such an eventuality. If it does happen, clearly we will have to do something. An idea was suggested, without a decision being made though, that could probably lead to a solution, to use European funds for expanding the existing refugee reception facilities or, in extremis, for building new centres to accommodate the refugees’, the president said after the CSAT meeting at Cotroceni.

“We cannot consider the compulsory quotas as a solution to the migration problem’

Klaus Iohannis pointed out that the reports on the immigrants on CSAT had been very good and noted that Romania would plead against the mandatory quota system at the JAI Council the following week.
‘The discussion was on how Romania will present itself to the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council next week. The position of Romania was explained to the members of CSAT. The minister of interior will have a very similar mandate to the one he went with to the previous JHA Council meeting. Romania acts in solidarity with the other member states of the EU, but we cannot consider the mandatory quotas as a solution to the migration problem. This is the mandate for the JAI Council’, Iohannis said.
Deputy Prime-Minister Gabriel Oprea said, on Tuesday, that he had fulfilled the mandate he had been given by the president and prime-minister during the JHA Council on 14 September for not accepting the mandatory quota system in the matter of the relocation of the immigrants, and pointed out that he had informed the president from Brussels.
The meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council that took place in Brussels, on Monday, was attended by the ministers of interior of the member states of the EU and European Commission representatives, who discussed all the aspects included in the package of proposals presented by the Commission.
The EU Council for Justice and Home Affairs yielded an agreement on the relocation of 40,000 third-country refugees who have reached Greece and Italy. An agreement on the compulsory quotas for the redistribution of 160,000 immigrants, as the Commission proposed, is highly unlikely, Mediafax reports.
The European Council decided in July to relocate 32,256 refugees, with figures pending updating in December 2015, up to a total of 40,000 persons. The countries who will participate in the relocation mechanism will receive 6,000 euro for every accepted immigrant.
Within that initial relocations scheme, Romania was going to receive 2,363 immigrants.
President Klaus Iohannis and Prime-Minister Victor Ponta have each said Romania was unable to accept immigrants above its existing capacity of 1,785 places. The CSAT meeting on Thursday addressed the situation of the refugee quotas.

Presidential adviser Orban: EU decision on mandatory migrant quotas may not be blocked

Presidential adviser Leonard Orban says that increasingly fewer EU member states oppose mandatory migrant quotas, therefore the EU decision in this case may likely not be blocked.

“There are increasingly fewer states opposing this decision, which means there won’t be a blocking minority. A blocking minority will very likely lack and, under the circumstances, the decisions would be adopted, therefore all member states would be obligated to receive a number of migrants according to the proposal of the European Commission. (…) We see that there currently is an increasing support for what the EC proposed, more precisely the mandatory quotas, and it is a matter that troubles us,” Leonard Orban told Digi 24 private television broadcaster on Thursday evening.

He reiterated that Romania’s position in the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council meeting next week remains unchanged. Orban said that at this meeting there are also areas that can be negotiated, such as the economic sanctions on the member states that don’t accept the imposed number of migrants.

“The financial matters will probably be negotiated. What could probably no longer be negotiated are the figures and the distribution of migrants according to the initial proposal,” the presidential adviser said.

He mentioned that there is a provision in the European Commission’s proposal that says that, if a member state doesn’t take over migrants or takes over less than the allotted quota, the country in question will have to pay maximum 0.002 percent of its GDP or, if it partially takes over the number of immigrants, the amount will decrease.

“This provision might be kept as it is; it is valid for only one year. It can be kept or the time limit can be eliminated,” Orban added.

About the fence Hungary plans to build along the border with Romania, Orban believes the fence is not a solution in the medium and long term.

“This matter is debatable. I am telling you my point of view. The fence isn’t a solution. We live in a Europe of the 21st century, which should be open to the exterior, and surrounding yourself with fences isn’t a solution. We have also seen what happens in the US, they have built that fence at the border with Mexico. By how much have they limited the migration flow? By little. I don’t think that is a solution,” the presidential adviser also said, according to Agerpres.

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