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Following talks in the European Council, Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis has voiced optimism that the country’s Schengen accession process will successfully complete in 2023
A week after Romania and Bulgaria's entry into Schengen was rejected in the Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA), the accession issue has again been brought up for discussion in Brussels, this time during the proceedings of the European Council upon the initiative of Romania's president Klaus Iohannis. The head of the Romanian state talked about the need for a positive solution concerning accession, about the fact that Romania is ready from all points of view to become part of Europe's border-free area, but also about unity and solidarity.
"Romania is a frontline country when it comes to the situation caused by the war in Ukraine. We are the neighbours with the longest border with Ukraine. We have been striving and coping with this situation, because that's what we want and because we believe this is the right thing to do. We are a frontline country when it comes to migration and we control the migration inflow. We have obtained very good results, acknowledged by objective foreign sources," Klaus Iohannis said adding:
"We Romanians are waiting for clear signs of solidarity and unity from the EU. And that means that among other things we have legitimate expectations to be admitted into Schengen."
The Romanian president said that Austria's veto and the mixed vote by the Netherlands are issues that must be solved, but from all talks that he held he concluded that this time, preparations would go deeper and a solution is wanted."
Klaus Iohannis: "My conclusion is simple: all players have understood that here we have an issue that must be solved. My impression is that everybody understood and I am pretty optimistic the best alternative is that the accession process be completed in 2023 with a positive result for Romania and Bulgaria."
The highest European officials have conveyed support messages for the accession of the two countries which are together in this process and have been waiting for more than a decade for this accession. The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the president of the Council, Charles Michel, have said that opinion exchanges on this issue are going to continue and headway is expected in the following months. Romania and Bulgaria's accession is fully supported, Ursula von der Leyen says while Charles Michel has confirmed the EU leaders will participate in a special summit on migration in February. Austria motivated its veto also on the issue of migration. Charles Michel has mentioned the political debates on Bulgaria and Romania's accession to Europe's passport-free area and voiced optimism that a decision in this respect could be made in 2023. The EU official has also mentioned the feeling he had of a political commitment to making headway and his hopes that this is going to take place next year. Roberta Metsola, president of the European Parliament has voiced disappointment for the rejection of the two states and Romanian president Klaus Iohannis has thanked for the strong vocal support in the European Parliament and the landslide support of the member states.
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