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The negotiations for Romania’s accession to the Schengen area are coming to an end.
Romania's president Klaus Iohannis, who attended the EU-Western Balkans summit in the Albanian capital Tirana said the negotiations on Romania's Schengen accession are not yet over and that talks would be held until the last moment in order to reach a favourable result. He told the participants in the summit that Romania is ready to support the efforts of the European Union to combat illegal migration via the Western Balkans, even if the country is not on this route and neither does it represent a relevant source of migrant flows to the EU. He confirmed that the Schengen accession of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia does feature on the agenda of Thursday's meeting of EU justice and home affairs ministers. Talks will continue until then, he added. Klaus Iohannis:
"The issue is on the table of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, where it will no doubt be discussed in detail. Until then more negotiations are still needed. Discussions are still ongoing on the content of the decision and we are committed to remain determined until the last moment and obtain the decision we want."
Even if a number of Romanian officials travelled to Vienna to argue that Bucharest is ready to join Schengen, Austria's chancellor Karl Nehammer said his country still opposed the move and that more time was needed. He invoked the problem of migration and said there are 75,000 illegal migrants in Austria and answers must first be found to these security questions. Romania's interior minister Lucian Bode said the problems related to migration cannot be blamed on Romania, which fulfils all technical criteria to join Schengen, explaining that the migration flow does not pass through Romania. "The opposition to accession would be profoundly unfair for Romania", said the minister for European projects Marcel Boloş.
The Dutch government, which was previously opposed to Romania's entry to Schengen, last Friday gave it the green light. It helped that the European Commission recently proposed an end to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism under which Romania's justice reforms have been monitored ever since 2007, when it joined the European Union. Sweden's Parliament also came around and voted in favour of Romania's Schengen accession. On Monday, the European Commission again emphasised that Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia fulfil all requirements to become Schengen members and is expecting all 27 EU member states to give their green light on Thursday. (CM)
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