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December 3, 2021

PM Ponta: European Council could change JHA decision on refugee quotas

The European Union has approved on Tuesday in the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) ministers’ meeting, with a wide majority, the distribution of 120,000 refugees among the member states.

Vice Prime Minister for National Security and Internal Affairs Minister Gabriel Oprea has presented on this occasion the mandate entrusted to him by President Klaus Iohannis and by Prime Minister Victor Ponta, voting against the draft of the decision enforcing compulsory quotas of immigrants, the Interior Ministry informed in a release.

“We were in a minority, the vote decided the other way round”

Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Tuesday night said that the European Council might change on Wednesday the decision made on Tuesday by the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) extraordinary Council on the mandatory refugee quotas; he added that Vice Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea has accomplished the task he had from the Supreme Council for Country’s Defence (CSAT) in a “very good and normal” way.

“We were in a minority; the vote decided the other way round. I wouldn’t like to comment more, because tomorrow Mr. Iohannis takes off to the European Council and maybe he could change something there. (…) The European Council is the one that makes the big decisions, because it gathers the heads of governments, plus Mr. Iohannis and the President of France; the other there are premiers. In the JHA there are the interior ministers. Obviously, the European Council of tomorrow [Wednesday] could change totally or partially the today’s decision (…). I hope (…) certain things can still be negotiated. We could discuss, following what Mr. Iohannis will say on Wednesday night about what the European Council has decided,” Ponta told the private television Romania TV.

Asked whether Romania has the money to receive a larger number of refugees, Ponta said “it’s not a matter of money.”

“The problem lays in our logistical capacity and in the possibility to integrate them into society. I don’t believe that the idea is to take some people in and keep them locked somewhere, because this is not how things are done. The idea is to try to offer them a way of life until they are capable to return to their own countries. Which today, as we speak, we lack such experience. We are not America or France, which have had an experience … important populations to integrate in Romania – on the contrary,” said Victor Ponta.

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