Romanian and French presidents talk Schengen, war in Ukraine during meeting at military base in Romania
French president Emmanuel Macron and his Romanian counterpart Klaus Iohannis met on Wednesday morning, June 15, at the Mihail Kogălniceanu Airbase in Romania, where around 500 French soldiers are stationed. The two officials discussed several topics of interest during their face-to-face meeting, including Romania's Schengen accession, the security situation in the region, and the effects of the war in Ukraine.
After the meeting, Klaus Iohannis said the French-Romanian cooperation on security had intensified recently, mainly as a result of the military aggression of Russia in Ukraine. He also thanked Emmanuel Macron for the deployment of French troops in Romania and for France assuming the status of leader of the NATO Combat Group in the country.
"A special topic of discussion was related to the preparation of the NATO Summit in Madrid, which will take key decisions for the future of the Alliance and our common security. Thus, we discussed, as a matter of priority, the need to strengthen the position of deterrence and defense on the Eastern Flank, especially, of course, at the Black Sea, the new Strategic Concept, the support of Alliance partners, and the prospects of Sweden and Finland's accession," the Romanian president said during the joint press conference with his French counterpart.
In his turn, Emmanuel Macron also praised the collaboration between Romania and France, saying that the two states' alliance "is based on a two-century friendship." "We have mentioned this together and many times. In the face of serious crises threatening its security, Romania could count on the fraternity of France. I am proud to continue this historical tradition today," he said, according to Digi24.
The French leader also said that the two countries are working together on "an ambitious plan to support the Romanian Naval Forces." In addition, he said that the NATO presence in Romania would be expanded.
The Russian aggression in Ukraine and its consequences was also an important topic of discussion, including food insecurity due to the impossibility of exporting Ukrainian agricultural crops.
"Romania is making sustained, multidimensional efforts to support Ukraine by offering routes for grain exports, including through the Black Sea Port of Constanta and through the Romanian ports on the Danube. Our authorities are looking for integrated solutions to make this transit as efficient as possible, including with the support of our external partners. We have therefore agreed to work closely together to achieve this goal," the Romanian president said.
In the same context, the talks also focused on energy security and ways to reduce European Union's dependence on Russia. "I emphasized that Romania is ready to play an active role in achieving the Union's strategic objectives and will make every effort to ensure the long-term resilience of the energy sector," Iohannis said.
The two presidents also discussed other European issues, particularly the Schengen area and Romania's bid to become a member. The Romanian president said he explained "Romania's legitimate expectation regarding accession," adding that the enlargement of the Schengen area "would help strengthen the security and resilience of the Union as a whole and strengthen the competitiveness of the Single Market for the benefit of European citizens."
"We are confident that we will be able to count on France's support in unblocking our country's Schengen accession process," Klaus Iohannis said.
In his turn, French president Macron confirmed his country's support for Romania's accession to Schengen and said "France stands by Romania."
Emmanuel Macron arrived in Romania on Tuesday evening, June 14, being welcomed by Romanian prime minister Nicolae Ciuca at the Mihail Kogălniceanu Airbase.
(Photo source: Presidency.ro)