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February 3, 2023
DIPLOMACYPOLITICS

EP’s Roberta Metsola in Bucharest: Romania belongs to the Schengen area. There is no justifiable reason not to welcome Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area

Romania belongs to the Schengen area, the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, said on Monday in Bucharest.

There is no justifiable reason not to welcome Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area, she told a press conference together with president Klaus Iohannis.

The high European official stated that efforts are being made for this situation to be resolved as soon as possible.

“We will continue to promote this matter, despite the delays and the disappointment of 2022. The situation will last as little as possible. I also said last week at the European Council and urged the leaders of the European governments to fulfill the promises made to this country 11 years ago. There is simply no justifiable reason not to welcome Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area, because all the conditions for accession are met and then the matter must be resolved and we must move on, we must insist that this matter be resolved in 2023”, she said, according to the official translation.

Roberta Metsola voiced her optimism in relation to the Swedish presidency of the Council of the European Union, which begins on January 1, 2023.

With regard to topic of migration, evoked by Austria at the time of exercising the veto against the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen, Metsola said: It is a topic that generally dominates the European elections and also a topic that, depending on the country, can have a seasonal aspect.

“We must have an immigration policy that is both humane, but also firm towards those who do not have justification”, emphasized Metsola.

She added that “the enlargement of the Schengen zone is essential for this, because joining Schengen de jure consecrates what is happening de facto at the moment”.

The external border of the European Union is defended. We see that all countries, including Romania, apply all components of the Schengen acquis, which answers any kind of concerns that might exist from this point of view, added the president of the European Parliament.

 

President Iohannis: I’ll continue discussions, yet don’t expect Schengen issue to be debated at European Council in February

 

President Klaus Iohannis declared on Monday that he will continue discussions on Romania’s accession to the Schengen area, stressing that the decision is made in the Council of Justice and Home Affairs, not in the European Council and that the Schengen issue will not be on the agenda of the extraordinary European Council in February.

“The European Council on February 9 and 10 will not have the Schengen issue on its agenda. In my opinion, it is anyway too early. Until January 15, it is hard to believe that anything will be discussed and in two weeks I do not expect it to be resolved the question of the Austrian approach and the question of the Dutch approach to Bulgaria. We must all understand, together that these matters must be resolved before another vote is made in the JHA Council. I will continue all the discussions, but I do not expect that at the Extraordinary Council in February this topic to be debated, it will be discussed on the sidelines of the meeting between us, but without appearing in the conclusions, and I am optimistic that we will continue to find solutions for the Austrian vote and for the Dutch approach to Bulgaria, because the best solution and this is clear for everyone is for Romania and Bulgaria to receive a vote at the same time, so to enter the Schengen area together,” said the president at the Cotroceni palace, after the meeting with the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola.

“I had (at the European Council) a rather long discussion with the Swedish prime minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, and it is clear that he is aware of the problem, he is familiar with our requests, with the issue in general and his opinion was that this matter must be put back into discussion,” said Iohannis.

“Let me clarify some things before some publicity-hungry opinion makers create expectations that will not be met. The Schengen issue is not discussed at the European Council, it is not settled there, but at the JHA Council, it is a format of the ministers of Interior within the Council of the European Union. Immediately after the two issues under discussion will be clarified politically, through bilateral discussions in different formats, I am convinced that the issue will be put in the Council of the JHA and my conviction is that when they put it on the agenda will receive a positive response. We, the EU, cannot afford another failure,” he said.

“I particularly appreciated the involvement of Madame President personally, but also of the European Parliament in the Schengen case. The European Parliament and president Metsola were on our side from the start and recommended, both through a political vote and through political discussions, Romania’s admission to the Schengen area. I asked the president to keep this approach and this optimism, and continue with our legitimate hope that in the coming year, in 2023, Romania will become part of the Schengen area,” the president also said.

 

Metsola:  European Parliament will fight against the wrongdoers who violate the principles

 

The European Parliament will fight against the wrongdoers who violate the principles, declared, on Monday, the president of the EP, Roberta Metsola, during a press conference together with the president Klaus Iohannis, at the Cotroceni palace.

She referred to the scandal in the EU legislature, in the context in which MEP Eva Kaili was dismissed and arrested for corruption, money laundering and the establishment of an organized criminal group, a file opened in connection with attempts by the state of Qatar to influence economic and political decisions of the European Parliament regarding the human rights situation in this country.

“We will face this test head on. It takes years to build trust and it can be lost in a second. We have to rebuild what needs to be rebuilt now, we have to right the wrongs, we have to reform. There will continue to be zero tolerance for corruption. There can be no impunity. I assure everyone that the European Parliament will fight against bad actors who violate the principles that my colleagues and I have spent our entire careers to support: the rule of law, justice and the correct procedure”, stated Metsola, according to the official translation.

Metsola emphasized that the European Parliament supports human rights and their values all over the world, not only within the European Union, but also in third countries” and condemned “illegal, non-transparent and unnecessary behaviours, activities that overshadow the immense effort made in the committees.

 

Iohannis: EP corruption scandal, complicated matter

 

President Klaus Iohannis Monday qualified the corruption scandal in the European Parliament as “a complicated matter”, adding that the prosecutors must be allowed to investigate this case.

“A complicated, unexpected issue is the scandal that broke out a few days ago in the European Parliament related to corruption accusations and I want to say publicly, I also told Madam president, that I support it, we support it one hundred percent. The direct, correct, open and firm manner in which she approached these matters is certainly the right way because the European Parliament as a whole is doing its job very well. The European Union as a whole is solving problems but when situations are found that certain people do not do what the electorate expects from them, it is clear that they must be investigated by the book, without too much political manipulation. The prosecutors must be left to do their work,” said the head of state, after the meeting with the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, visiting Bucharest.

Asked what information he has in the context of concerns in society that Romanian officials might be involved in this case of corruption, Iohannis stated that he has no other data than those provided by the European Parliament.

The head of state and Roberta Metsola discussed the Schengen topic, but also “more general, more complicated issues related to the European Union”.

“I concluded, as I think was expected, that our unity in the European Union is extremely important. Unity is the most powerful weapon we have, regardless of whether we are talking about the war launched by Russia against Ukraine, where unity is vital, or in other crises, where without unity we will not be able to face, for example the energy crisis. In this context, it is obvious that the sanctions that we decided against Russia were also discussed. Even in the last evening of the Council last week, the ninth package of sanctions was approved and here it was seen once again that unity is vital. Unity and solidarity are also needed in the relationship with Ukraine, but also within the Union,” Klaus Iohannis highlighted.

The discussions also concerned the enlargement of the European Union.

 

Compiled from Agerpres

Photo: www.presidency.ro

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