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The Romanian officials resume talks, in Brussels, on Romania's accession to the Schengen area.
Romania maintains its goal to join the Schengen area this year, the Romanian Interior Minister, Lucian Bode, announced in Brussels. Even if the subject of Romania's entry into the free travel area was not on the agenda of the Justice and Home Affairs Council - JAH, the Romanian official reiterated that Bucharest might have a chance of integration in 2023. For this, however, the subject should be included on Spain’s list of priorities, a country that will hold the rotating presidency of the European Union in the second part of this year. According to the Romanian official, the European interior ministers reiterated their support, but Austria, which was opposed to Romania’s accession also in December, maintains its reservations.
Lucian Bode: ”I want to welcome the statements of several interior ministers, who reiterated their support for the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area. The Spanish Interior Minister specifically requested that this objective be reached by the member states this year. He confirmed to me that on March 30 he will be in Bucharest on a working visit, and, on the occasion, we will certainly be able to discuss the goals of the Spanish presidency and the goal that we want to be a priority for the Spanish presidency, namely Romania's accession to the Schengen area.”
According to minister Lucian Bode, the expansion of the Schengen area, beyond the advantages brought to Romania, will raise the level of security at the EU borders. Moreover, he says, the new figures presented by the European Commission during the meeting show that migration along the Western Balkan corridor has decreased by almost half compared to last year. The Romanian interior minister believes that this is an additional argument for the fact that security at the border of Europe has been strengthened. However, some Romanian MEPs say that Romania would not have any chances of entering the free travel area this year.
Eugen Tomac, the MEP who sued the European Council at the European Court of Justice, accuses the Council of violating the European legislation and of political discrimination. He says that although the three states met the technical criteria, the Council made the political decision to reject Romania and Bulgaria, while Croatia was accepted, at the December Council in Brussels. Eugen Tomac also initiated a petition entitled "Romania deserves to be in Schengen" and invites Romanians to sign it.
Eugen Tomac: “We want our voice, our message related to this topic to be very clear and correctly understood by the European decision-makers. It is a legitimate move; the Council made an act of injustice that must be repaired at the Court of Justice of the European Union.”
It should also be mentioned that Spain will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in a difficult period. (LS)
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