President Klaus Iohannis made a press statement at Cotroceni Palace on Wednesday on his participation in the European Council 15/16 October that will address the causes and developments of migration to Europe. The president also mentioned the postponement of Romania’s accession to Schengen.
The head of state stressed the fact that Romania acted in solidarity with the other EU states on the measures to be adopted to solve the issues generated by migration, and that the Council would also discuss the situation of the borders and of the transit countries.
‘Migration will be discussed. It is very clear that this phenomenon has led to complicated situations. It has led to tensions inside the EU, but we are on the right track to find solutions’, said the president. ‘During the works of the Council tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, we will discuss certain aspects of migration that do not pertain to the EU internal affairs, but to the border security, matters regarding the countries of origin and how they could be assisted, and the transit countries. I believe Romania’s stance is well known, but I want to repeat one very important thing: Romania is and wants to continue to be part of the solution, solidarity with the other EU member states, with its approaches always grounded in solidarity and responsibility. We will continue to be beside the other member states and contribute to solutions’, Iohannis said.
The head of state will have a working meeting with the European Parliament President Martin Schulz in Brussels, on Thursday. They will discus topics of current interest including migration. After that, before the European Council meeting, the president invited all the Romanian MEPs to a meeting.
‘The members of the European Parliament need to exchange views with the president in order for us to mutually know our positions and see how we can best represent Romania,’ said Iohannis. He added he wanted the meting to be the first of a longer series.
‘Romania behaves as if it was a Schengen member’
Klaus Iohannis said Romania behaved as if it was a member of the Schengen Area, but the subject of accession had been removed from the agenda for the time being because of the migration disturbances.
‘Even if we are not a member of the Schengen Area yet, Romania takes its responsibilities very seriously. Romania acts de facto as if it was a Schengen member’, said the president.
In what regards migration, Iohannis stressed that ‘it is important to look at the source of migration’/
‘The most important is Syria. The solution is obvious – peace in Syria. That will require the cooperation of all parties involved. The fact that Russia has engaged militarily in Syria lately does not help solve the crisis, on the contrary, it complicates things’, said the head of state.
‘A very important role in this phenomenon have the transit countries. Millions of refugees are in Turkey. The topic will be on the agenda tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Other topics are the economic and monetary union. We will talk bout the report of the five presidents. Another theme is the place of Great Britain in the EU. Romania has a very clear position: the place of the UK is in the EU’, said Iohannis. The president also noted that Romania is one of the few countries still with staff at its embassy in Damascus, and would therefore be able to play the role of ‘a facilitator of the talks leading to peace in the region’.
‘If politics meddles in market economy, thinks do not work well’
Answering a question on Jean Claude Juncker’s statements on EU’s attitude towards Russia, Iohannis said the position was ‘surprising’ and noted that he would find out more details during the following meetings.
‘It is unusual for the EC president to make statements on key-matters without harmonising his position with the EU member states. I prefer to find out what he meant and comment afterwards’, said the president.
As for Romania’s joining the Schengen free movement area, the head of state said he had no reproach to make to either himself or the relevant institutions.
‘The problem was neither Romania’s nor Bulgaria’s. In key-points, the Schengen area stopped functioning. Top politicians questioned the Schengen mode and existence. We didn’t believe it to be a good timing for us to promote the topic on the JAI agenda. The diplomats definitely discussed the matters in Brussels. There is no consolidated opposition to accession, but we decided a discussion was not opportune. The subject will not be brought up on the European Council, but on JAI. It should be back on the agenda on the first opportunity’, Iohannis said.
Regarding what the in-coming US Ambassador Hans Klemm had said – that politics should detach itself from the economy – the president said the statement was a continuation of his and other representatives’ actions.
‘We believe that, if politics meddles in the Markey economy, thinks do not work well. That’s also a hint to corruption that has to be deterred and which is being deterred. The statement also targets the encouraging of developing a transparent, predictable and sustainable legislation. All these things are known to us. We just need to implement them very well’, the head of state noted, also adding that ‘this is a subject that is brought up during all bilateral talks and with all partners with whom we pursue very deep relations’.