PM: Change of strategy, but Schengen accession is still among Romania’s objectives

victor ponta govRomania does not intend to give Germany a chance to use its veto on the country’s Schengen accession at the upcoming Justice and Home Affairs meeting, following the recent announcement by a German politician. The Romanian Government will not push for a decision at the JHA meeting, instead it will present the country’s progress in achieving European targets.

“We took note of the decision recently announced by the German Interior Minister, and it is clear that in the JHA council, Germany, if needed, will use its veto. Our intention is not to go that far, because that is not the outcome we’ve been hoping for. We plan to present once again the technical criteria we have fulfilled for Schengen. If we will get a clear point of view from Germany about what else needs to be done in the future, it is very well, I do not want to export Romania’s internal problems beyond borders and into other councils,” said the Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

The PM said Romania’s European objectives should be treated in a new light, within a new strategy, with an “realistic, pragmatic and dignified attitude”. The Government will further make a decision on Schengen accession.

He underlined Schengen is still on Romania’s agenda, but a new strategy is required. The PM reminded that Romania has not achieved anything else since 2005. The Cooperation and Verification Mechanism has not been lifted, Romania was not accepted to Schengen, said Ponta, and made clear that it is a failure of all Governments and political parties.

His statements came soon after Romania’s External Affairs Minister Titus Corlatean recently said that another delay in Romania’s Schengen admission will affect the credibility of the accession process and Romania may not be interested in joining anymore. Soon after Corlatean’s public statement, the German Federal Internal Affairs Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said Germany would oppose Schengen admission for Romania and Bulgaria at the the upcoming Justice and Internal Affairs Council meeting on March 7 – 8. The opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) in Romania said the German reaction was in fact triggered by Corlatean’s statement.

The PM said he had nothing fro which to reproach Germany, but rather to those in Romania who “curse and bad mouth the country” in Brussels and Berlin and who are happy to have sunk the boat.

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