Romania’s President Traian Basescu (in picture) has urged the country’s government to send a letter to the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council detailing how the problems identified in the most recent Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) report are being solved. He suggested that Romania’s Schengen Area accession could be helped by a strong signal that the country was tackling the issues in the CVM report. “There is an absolute need for a letter signed by leading policy makers showing that they can do something about the negative aspects reported in the report,” said Basescu in a press conference at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace yesterday (February 10 ).
The President went on to say that a letter simply asking for Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area would raise smiles but little more in Brussels. He said that although he personally could write a letter, it would do little or nothing to help speed up Romania’s accession. Instead he advised that PM Victor Ponta, the head of the Senate Crin Antonescu and the head of the Chamber of Deputies Valeriu Zgonea sign the letter.
Basescu said that if Romania wants a better Justice and Home Affairs report in March, the country needs to show clearly that it is addressing EU concerns. He also said that diplomacy alone would not secure Schengen Area accession, hinting that countries like Germany and the Netherlands would want to see hard evidence of progress in Romania.
When asked about Schengen Area accession on the release of the latest CVM report, EU officials stated clearly that Schengen membership had its own criteria and process and neither was, nor should be, based on CVM reports.
It was on these grounds that PM Victor Ponta responded to the President’s suggestion today. He said sending such a letter would be a “big mistake” as it would link Romania’s Schengen Area accession to the CVM reports.