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May 22, 2022

Dacian Ciolos: Europe, in difficulty because of migration, but solution can be found through dialogue

Europe is in great difficulty in respect to the migration issue and Romania believes that the solution must be found through dialogue among all European Union member states, Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said in an interview to France 24 and Radio France International stations, at the end of his two-day official visit to France.

“Romania has clearly stated that an automatic mechanism of migrant distribution, based on quotas, cannot be conceived, that this mechanism must remain voluntary and that, depending on the migrant assimilation and integration possibilities, Romania can make efforts along the other states, but efforts that can be really made. We maintain this position,” Ciolos said.

The head of the Romanian Government also referred to the Schengen area and its role in the context of the migration crisis, underscoring that the existing rules must be enforced at the EU external borders.

“We have no interest in seeing the Schengen area disappearing. The Schengen area and the Eurozone are at the core of the European project and of the freedom and exchange space we want to build in the European Union. The Schengen area is threatened, but this is also because, maybe, we are not capable to control very well the EU’s external borders. (…) I believe the solution in order to be able to protect the Schengen area is that of getting to enforce well our rules at the Union’s external borders,” the Romanian Prime Minister underscored.

In his opinion, Romania has met the requirements for being accepted as Schengen member. “We are obviously not interested in joining a Schengen area that isn’t functioning. We don’t want to only formally join the Schengen area. We want to benefit from the concrete realities and, certainly, to assume the responsibilities incumbent on us,” he underscored.

In the same interview, Dacian Ciolos estimated that the enlargement of the European Union is not a failure, but he drew the attention that it wasn’t followed by an appropriate integration process. “We have 15 older member states which accepted other 13 states that subsequently joined the club. Therefore there are 15 countries that had more integration time after their accession, after successive enlargements. There has been an enlargement which I thought and I still think it was a historic opportunity for the EU, but maybe because of the economic and financial crisis we had to make many decisions on an emergency basis and we didn’t allot time to understand each other well, to listen to each other well and to see through the integration process,” the Romanian Prime Minister explained.

On the other hand, he voiced the support for the UK staying in the European Union, saying that this outcome is to the best interest of both the British people and the European Union itself.

In respect to the measures adopted on a domestic level after taking over the prime minister mandate, Dacian Ciolos highlighted the continuation of the fight against corruption, already commenced some years ago, and the initiation of an administrative reform so that the administration should become “more efficient, more professional, more transparent and less politicised,” a reform the effects of which should also be seen after the parliamentary elections at the end of this year.

“We will be widely judged by the way we organise parliamentary elections”

Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos told the Romanian diaspora of France on Wednesday evening that one of the most important tasks of the current Government will be implementing postal voting.

“We’ll have to implement for the first time the postal voting with a law which still has some shortcomings”

“We know that one of our most important tasks, by which we will be widely judged, is the manner in which we will organise this autumn’s parliamentary elections, and I can tell you that we have learned and we shall learn all the lessons from what has been done in the past, both the good and less so good things, so much the more as I also had the chance to vote outside Romania in the presidential elections and see aspects that can be corrected. This year there will also be a challenge for us, the Government, because we’ll have to implement for the first time the postal voting with a law which still has some shortcomings, but it is important that we capitalise on it as much as possible and provide you as many as possible ways for you to be able to exercise your right to vote through a sufficient number of polling stations, but also by organising this postal voting system,” the Prime Minister said at Romania’s Embassy in Paris according to Agerpres.

About 200 Romanians living in France participated in the meeting with Premier Ciolos. Afterwards, the chief of Executive attended the opening of the concert performed by Eugen Doga, in celebration of National Culture Day.

“I am optimistic about Romania’s accession to Schengen with air borders this year”

Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos voiced his optimism on Wednesday in respect to the possibility of Romania joining the Schengen Area with the air borders this year.

Asked if, after the meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, Romania will have Germany’s and France’s support for the accession to Schengen with the air borders this year, Ciolos replied: “We shall see. I am optimistic. There are prospects. I cannot make a statement. I have tabled all the arguments and I didn’t feel any substantial counter-arguments to what I have said so far. I believe that the message from our side has been understood. Of course, this decision, if it is made and when it is made, will be made in a wider context. It doesn’t only concern Romania’s request, which is not a new one. It is an already known one. Other factors than the fact that Romania has fulfilled its commitments will be definitely taken into account.”

The Romanian Prime Minister explained that Romania has met the criteria for the accession to the Schengen Area and proved that it is capable to defend EU’s external borders.

“In the discussions in Berlin and in the discussions here, I underlined that Romania’s being accepted, at least in a first stage, as these things have been discussed, by joining the Schengen area with the air borders of the airports, would only acknowledge that the Schengen Area continues to be of interest and that we are aware that measures need to be made for the Schengen Area to be credible, mostly through the capacity of ensuring the European borders protection. I believe we are on the right path, anyway, so much the more that there are signs of acknowledgement of the fact that Romania has made progress in an area in which it assumed certain commitments. (…) These progresses were not made during the tenure of the current Government, but are highlighted now,” Ciolos told the press conference, according to Agerpres.

“I am happy that CCR supported the appeal concerning special pensions for local officials”

Moreover, Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos declared he was glad CCR passed the appeal by the Government referring to the law concerning the special pensions for local officials.

“I can only feel joy that the things we pointed out after we analysed the law were confirmed by the Constitutional Court. I find it important that we could grant, on one hand, predictability in the decisions reached, including the ones referring to pensions. As I have pointed it out before, we are working on the draft law for the unitary salary and, after we have a clear image on the payment of wages, we may also discuss pensions, too. But I think that such punctual draft laws, that created privileges for one category or another, will not solve the issues we must solve and sort out. I am happy that the Constitutional Court has cleared things out and has green lit the appeal we submitted”, Ciolos declared in Paris.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that the Government did not appeal the “logic of granting certain pensions for local officials or not”, but the way the law was elaborated.

“I think that these topics may be discussed in a wider context when we will consider the balance of the situation of pensions in general”, Ciolos added.

The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) has established on Wednesday that the law concerning special pensions for local officials failed to fulfill the conditions of clarity and predictability regarding the “age-based allowance”, considering the juridical aspect of the institution, the sphere of its beneficiaries and the way the right was granted.

With an unanimity of votes, the CCR Plenum approved the objection brought by the Government and established that the dispositions of the Law concerning the change and completion of Law no. 393/2004 regarding the Statute of local officials were unconstitutional.

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