DIPLOMACY

Irish European Affairs Minister: We support Romania and Bulgaria’s Schengen accession bid

Ireland supports Romania and Bulgaria’s desire to join the Schengen Area, Irish Minister for European Affairs, the EU digital single market and data protection Dara Murphy said on Tuesday in Bucharest, adding that he hopes solutions are found for this to happen.

Murphy delivered a joint press statement with Romania’s Minister delegate for European Affairs Ana Birchall at the seat of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The two officials discussed the Romanian community in Ireland, the challenges facing the European Union in the context of the Brexit and the global migration crisis.

Ana Birchall emphasized the “exemplary way” the Romanian community has integrated in Ireland. Our priority remains to concretely deliver on the topical issues that can affect the life of both Romanian and European citizens, said the Minister delegate.

From our point of view, regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations, the UK must remain connected to the community space, Birchall said. Moreover, she added, the situation of the Romanian citizens who reside in the UK is very important to the Romanian state. Regarding the Brexit, defending the rights of Romanians who live in the UK is of utmost importance to Romania, said the Minister delegate.

In connection to migration, Birchall stressed that Romania makes efforts to maintain border security. When it comes to discussing a state’s contribution to managing migration, one should take into account the real contribution of each state. Apart from participating in joint efforts, Romania (…) is the second largest contributor to Frontex actions and defends – and I allow myself to say that it does this very well – the EU’s second longest external border of 2,070 km, she said.

The Minister delegate added that Ireland will assist Romania with the preparation of its term at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2019.

In his turn, speaking about the quality of the Ireland-based Romanian community, visiting Minister Dara Murphy said it is roughly 50,000-strong and that it is “hugely valued” and that its members are already like brothers and sisters to the locals.

Underscoring that the Republic of Ireland and Romania are currently two strong economies in the UE, Dara Murphy pointed out that Ireland has traveled the same journey as Romania in its bid to join the European Union, and that the EU has indeed allowed Ireland to flourish. Murphy expressed hopes that the UK’s pulling out of the Union doesn’t essentially affect the relationships among EU states. He also voiced Ireland’s support for Romania and Bulgaria’s desire to join the Schengen Area, and also referred to the enormous opportunities that open to Romania and Ireland on the single digital market.

Minister delegate for European Affairs Ana Birchall said that she will be soon attending in Ireland a meeting devoted mainly to the digital agenda.

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