President Klaus Iohannis stated, on Thursday, that there were discussions about Schengen at the European Council meeting, voicing optimism that in 2023 the process will be completed with a positive result for Romania and Bulgaria.
“Yesterday and today we took steps forward in the right direction. Don’t have extraordinary expectations. As we discussed yesterday, the Council did not make a firm executive decision, but I can tell you that I just left the Council, after it ended the discussion that I requested about Schengen. It was a good discussion. Apart from this discussion, I had the opportunity, during the two days that I was with the other leaders, to talk to many leaders. I talked with the people involved in this Schengen matter. (…) My conclusion is simple: all the actors understood that here we have a problem that needs to be solved. My impression is that they all understood and I am quite optimistic that the best alternative is for the process to be completed in 2023 with a positive result for Romania and Bulgaria”, said the head of state, on the sidelines of the European Council meeting.
The head of state emphasized that during the discussion he again presented the need for a positive solution regarding Schengen accession, the fact that Romania is prepared from all points of view to become part of the free movement area and that he spoke about unity and solidarity.
“Romania is a frontline country when it comes to the war in Ukraine. We are the neighbours with the longest border with Ukraine. We strive and face it, because we want to and we believe it is right. We are a frontline country for migrants and we control the flow migratory. We have very good results, recognized by external, objective sources. Romania is a first-line and first-rank country, I would say, when it comes to the so-called lines of solidarity, transporting goods from Ukraine to the world markets. Over 60% of the agricultural products exported by Ukraine went through Romania, on the roads, on our railway, on the waterways and through the port of Constanta. I reiterated all these things so that the world does not forget that the solidarity we showed has led to certain expectations. And we, the Romanians, expect clear signals, clear signs of solidarity and unity from the European Union. This means, among other things, that we have legitimate expectations to be welcomed into Schengen”, added President Iohannis, stating that it was not contradicted by anyone in the European Council.
He indicated that the vote on the part of Austria and the mixed vote on the part of the Netherlands are issues that still need to be resolved, but that from all the discussions he had he concluded that “this time the preparation will be deeper, better and that a solution is desired”.
“I told everyone that we Romanians want a positive solution during the year 2023”, said Iohannis, who pointed out that he expects Romania to enter Schengen with full rights next year.
The head of state showed that he had discussions on the sidelines of the European Council meeting with all the leaders, including the Austrian chancellor, and that they were positive.
“Now it’s a bit much to expect someone to come out and have an opinion contrary to the one he had a week ago. That’s not how problems are solved and no leader is going to come out and say: that’s it, we solved the problem, tomorrow. I didn’t tell you either, although maybe there were very high expectations in the country. But I don’t want to come with stories that are not true. I come with information, I come with opinions that I have formed and my conclusion is we have taken a clear step forward in the right direction”, added Iohannis.
He indicated that no concrete calendar was discussed.
“There is a need for many discussions, which I will have with the leaders of the other states, discussions that will be held here by the people from our representation and so on”, Iohannis said.
When the Austrian and Dutch votes receive a clarification, Romania’s accession will be on the agenda of JHA Council
On Thursday night, in Brussels president Klaus Iohannis declared himself certain that, when the Austrian and Dutch votes receive a clarification, Romania’s accession to Schengen will immediately be on the agenda of the Council of Justice and Home Affairs.
On Wednesday and Thursday, on the sidelines of the European Council meeting, the Romanian president had meetings with European leaders, including the Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson. Sweden is going to take over the rotating presidency of the European Union from January 1.
“I had a discussion with the Swedish prime minister, I presented the problem to him, he understood it very well, he had been ‘briefed’ on the matter, as they say, in specialized language. Of course, he did not make a firm commitment in a discussion which was a first exploratory discussion, but I am convinced that the moment the two issues, the Austrian vote and the Dutch vote, receive a clarification, the matter will immediately be on the JHA Council. I repeat, no one has, and this is what I say firmly, the interest for this problem to turn once again into something negative for the Union. It is a very complicated period, we have many crises, the European Union does not need another failure, because that was it. I called it syncopated. The European Union needs successes, positive results,” said president Iohannis, on the sidelines of the European Council meeting, when asked if there is certainty that Sweden will introduce the subject of Schengen on the agenda of the JHA Council in March.
He pointed out that no concrete calendar was discussed.
The president also said that he did not discuss with the Austrian chancellor, Karl Nehammer, about the problem of ambassadors, in the context of the recall to the country of the Romanian ambassador to Austria, Emil Hurezeanu.
“This is a matter that will be regulated by itself, at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. No, I don’t have the impression at any moment that a diplomatic crisis or something like that will take shape. We won’t have something like that,” Iohannis concluded, according to Agerpres.