Romania’s entry into the Schengen area would create a stronger and more developed region in Central and Eastern Europe, said Fuzes Oszkar, the Hungarian Ambassador to Bucharest, quoted by Ziarul Financiar. Neighboring Hungary supports Romania’s entry to the border free zone, which was recently delayed yet another time. “We support Romania’s entry into Schengen. We believe Romania fulfilled all the imposed criteria. The rest is politics, just political criteria. If you read the rules, Romania ticked all the boxes to join Schengen,” said Fuzes Oszkar, according to Romanian daily Ziarul Financiar.
The ambassador said he’s optimistic about Romania’s joining the Schengen area. Hungary too has been a Schengen member since 2008. Romania was supposed to join Schengen in the spring of 2011, but several countries opposed it and the deadline for admission kept being put back.
The country has spent around EUR 1.3 billion so far from EU funds to secure its borders in order to be admitted into Schengen. Germany and Finland were the latest two countries to say they’d veto Romania’s joining the free movement zone.
In the Hungarian ambassador’s opinion, Romania is on the right track for political stability, as well as in the fight against bureaucracy and corruption, which are the three things investors look at. Taxation is not as important, as the tax level in Romania is anyway below Hungary’s, he also said.
Hungarian companies would be interested in investing in Romanian energy and infrastructure, with the latter recommended to be seen as a priority for the country.
The ambassador’s statements come during quite a heated time for the two countries, centered around the use of the Székely Land flag by the Hungarian minority in Romania. This again triggered calls for autonomy, and protests in Romania and in cities around the world were organized last week for regional autonomy for the Secuiesc region, or Székely Land. Much of the population in the area of Transylvania are of Hungarian ethnicity.
The ambassador previously said Hungary supports the autonomy of the Hungarian minority in Romania. Fuzes Oszkar has been called on several occasions to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs following his public statements. Fuzes Oszkar has been the Hungarian Ambassador to Romania since 2008.