Accession to the Schengen Area is a major priority for Romania, Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu said on Thursday noting that our country counts on Sweden’s support in this file, as a mediator, having taken over the six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union on January 1.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy brought to mind, in the press conference organized by the Swedish Embassy in Bucharest on the occasion of taking over the Presidency of the EU Council, the way in which Romania managed the situation created by the war in Ukraine, showing that Romania was a de facto guardian of EU security.
The Romanian minister said that the accession to Schengen remains a priority for Romania, adding that the events generated by the conflict in Ukraine have proved once again that Romania has both the competence and will to efficiently respond to major challenges. The minister underscored that Romania ensured an efficient management at the external border of the EU and acted as a de facto guardian of the EU security, thus passing a test of resilience and, yet again, of solidarity, showing it rises to the level of requests.
As regards the vote against joining the Schengen Area in the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council on December 8, Aurescu said that Romania was unfairly denied its legitimate expectations.
Minister Aurescu added that we count on the support of the Swedish Presidency, pointing out that our country is in the most favorable position so far, taking into account that we don’t start from scratch, but building on top of everything we have achieved so far.
In her turn, the Swedish ambassador in Bucharest, Therese Hyden, pointed out that the Schengen file will be on the agenda of an official meeting, when the conditions are favorable, namely when Austria changes its standpoint regarding Romania, and the Netherlands changes its position regarding Bulgaria.
The ambassador brought to mind that Sweden voted in favour of Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area in the JHA Council, held in December last year and the Czech Presidency and Romanian did everything in their powers to have a positive result, unfortunately Romania and Bulgaria have been blocked.
Furthermore, the ambassador said that Swedish Justice minister who manages the Schengen file, stated, at that time, that the efforts shall continue.
Ambassador Therese Hyden said that the Swedish Presidency of the EU Council took over an important file from the Czech Presidency and intense work shall be put in, adding that it’s too soon to say when the process is to be concluded.
Minister Aurescu mentioned that, at this moment, there is a dialogue with the Austrian side, in order to create the premises for a favorable context, mentioning that we shouldn’t have hasty expectations.
Head of the European Commission Representation in Romania Ramona Chiriac brought to mind that the community Executive endorses Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession to the European area of free movement.
She mentioned that with Romania and Bulgaria in Schengen, the Community is stronger, not weaker, more safer and not more in danger, and more prosperous and more attractive as a single market for international partners.
Aurescu, Swedish counterpart Billstrom agree to maintain close coordination on the topic Romania’s accession to the Schengen area
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, had, on Wednesday, a telephone conversation with his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billstrom, with the two officials agreeing to “maintain close coordination on the discussed issues, primarily on the topic Romania’s accession to the Schengen area”, according to a release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) sent to AGERPRES.
On January 1, Sweden took over the six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Bogdan Aurescu thanked Tobias Billstrom for his country’s support regarding Romania’s accession to Schengen, expressed also within the JHA Council on December 8 last year.
Also, the Romanian minister expressed confidence in an “active and substantial cooperation with the Swedish Presidency in order to record some positive developments, which will allow obtaining a decision on accession”, the MAE informs. Aurescu emphasized “the importance of the coordination by the Swedish Presidency of the dialogue with all the European partners involved in this file”.
According to the MAE, Tobias Billstrom reconfirmed Sweden’s support for Romania’s accession to the Schengen area. He emphasized that the Swedish Presidency “is determined to be actively involved and make every effort to achieve this objective by identifying concrete solutions, based on a constructive dialogue with all parties involved, as well as to support Romania’s efforts towards the completion of the accession,” the release mentioned.
At the same time, the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his hope in recording progress in this case and in identifying a positive solution, emphasizing the legitimacy of Romania’s efforts and expectations.
Minister Aurescu welcomed the attention that the Swedish Presidency intends to give to the multidimensional support for Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, as well as the issues of migration, aspects related to the rule of law and fundamental rights, priorities in the field of environment and climate change, strengthening the resilience of the EU, the relationship with third parties.
The two dignitaries also had an exchange of views regarding the developments in the process of Sweden’s accession to NATO. Tobias Billstrom thanked Aurescu for the steps taken to support this objective in the dialogue with NATO partners in order to complete the ratification process of the Accession Protocol.