Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Bert Koenders visited Bucharest upon invitation of his Romanian counterpart minister Bogdan Aurescu to celebrate 135 years of diplomatic relations.
“On Saturday Minister Koenders started the day with a working lunch with NGO’s and the business community at the ambassador’s residence. The afternoon continued with a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Minister Aurescu and a press conference. The pleasant day ended with a joint KLM Royal Airlines – embassy reception followed by a cultural highlight: a wonderful concert of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam at the George Enescu Festival,” the Embassy of the Netherlands in Romania writes on Facebook.
Both ministers gave a speech prior to the concert emphasizing the strong and open relations between both countries.
Aurescu: 1,785 refugees – national physical limit for now< /strong>
Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu said on Saturday that Romania was standing by its position regarding the number of refugees it could take, adding that 1,785 was the physical limit, but that we could improve our reception capacities in the future with European funds.
‘The president spoke about this (refugee relocation quotas – editor’s note) after the CSAT meeting last week, attended by the prime-minister, ministers and president. We addressed the subject and the position voiced by the president is, of course, valid. We do not believe it to be a good thing to impose a given number of refugees. We do not believe that this is the European spirit, solidarity, a sort of solidarity we massively support’, said Aurescu, after being asked if Romania was standing by its position to only accept taking in approximately 1,700 refugees and on the fact that the president of Romania had said we needed more European funds.
Bogdan Aurescu made the statements after seeing his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders.
The chief Romanian diplomat added that 1,785 was the maximum number of refugees Romania could take, the ‘physical limit’, but it doesn’t mean that we cannot improve our capacities in the future, but, for that, European funds are needed.
‘I remind you that in July we already had 1,785 refugees that we would receive in Romania, which is the maximum number we are able to take for now, matching our national capacity. This is our current physical limit. This is why we are standing by this position. It doesn’t mean that in the future we won’t be able to improve our national capacity and receive more refugees. Of course that we will need support during this process of improving capacities, the help of European funds and of the Commission. After the meeting of justice and home affairs ministers we will see what funds are available for national support and the capacity of member states to cope with this immigration crisis’, said Aurescu.
Dutch Foreign Minister: In the matter of the immigrant crisis, Romania probably had an advantage in not being a member of the Schengen free movement area yet
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said in Bucharest on Saturday that, in the matter of the immigrant crisis, Romania probably had an advantage in not being a member of the Schengen free movement area yet and pointed out that, on a long term, the European Council would need to make a decision in the situation, but added that he could not specify the date.
‘I believe it’s difficult to judge because, first of all, it is important to all the states that are member of the Schengen Area, they need to cooperate, we want to secure citizen mobility, the free movement of the citizens. If there is any difference for Romania, I am under the impression that most migratory routes do not reach Romania, it’s probably an advantage that you are not yet a member of the Schengen Area. However, this is not a topic weighing in the general debate on Romania’s joining the Schengen Area, that’s something that ill need to be discussed in the future. I know you want to be a part of the Schengen Area, but I don’t know exactly what to say on the refugee crisis’, said the Dutch official, answering a question, after his meeting with Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu on Saturday.
Asked to indicate whether the Netherlands would support, during the rotating presidency of the EU, Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area, the Dutch official said the Schengen Area project existed and the European Council would decide on Romania’s application considering legal aspects and preparedness.