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September 19, 2021

Iohannis: We found including Schengen accession on JHA Council meeting inopportune

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis said Wednesday that amidst the ongoing migration crisis, some European politicians called into question the operation of the border-free Schengen Area, and consequently Romania did not find it opportune for the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council to discuss its access to the area and postpone the matter until the next best occasion.

“There are relevant European politicians having called into question the operation of the Schengen Area, and some even questioned the existence of the area any more. Given the context, we found it inopportune for us to promote the inclusion on the agenda of the JHA Council meeting of Romania’s accession. The diplomats have certainly discussed the matter in Brussels, but I want to repeat that there is no consolidated opposition against Romania and Bulgaria’s accession, but we did not find it opportune for the matter to be discussed. It will not be brought up at the European Council summit either, because it is a matter under the JHA jurisdiction and we will see to it that the next opportune time the matter will be up for discussion in a manner that is not heated or distorted by other events,” Iohannis told a news conference at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

He said he has nothing to reproach the Romanian institutions or officials in the case of Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area.

“The problem was not about Romania or Bulgaria, but about the Schengen Area, given that the Schengen Area was no longer functional in relevant parts because of the waves of migrants,” said Iohannis.

He added that as far as securing the borders is concerned, Romania is faring very well, even if it is not in the Schengen Area.

“Romania has taken its mission to defend the borders very seriously. Romania behaves like a de facto Schengen Area member,” the President added.

President Iohannis to meet EP President, Romanian MEPs in Brussels this Thursday

President Klaus Iohannis will meet on Thursday, on the sidelines of the autumn European Council session in Brussels, with President of the European Parliament (EP) Martin Schultz and with Romanian MEPs.

The head of the state told a press conference at the Cotroceni Palace on Wednesday that tomorrow he will have a working meeting in Brussels with EP President Martin Schultz, with whom he will discuss migration, the role of the European Parliament and other subjects.

Also on Thursday, President Iohannis will meet with Romanian MEPs.

“Tomorrow [on Thursday], before the European Council assembles, we invited all Romanian MEPs for a meeting. This meeting is (…) necessary and I want it to be just the first in a longer series. The MEPs need to exchange ideas with the President of the country, who represents Romania at the European Council, for them to get to know each other’s views and in order to identify the approaches that are in the best interest of Romania. We all represent Romania and the better we do it, the better the results will be,” said Iohannis.

He added that Wednesday evening he will meet with the Romanians who work in European institutions.

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