Ro­ma­nia to ac­cept refugees if ad­mit­ted to Schen­gen

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Ro­ma­nian Prime Min­is­ter Vic­tor Ponta said that his coun­try will re­quest ad­mis­sion to the EU’s Schen­gen border­less area if manda­tory quo­tas to ac­cept refugees are de­cided by the Union, ac­cord­ing to EurAc­tiv.

For many years now, Ro­ma­nia has ful­filled all the cri­te­ria re­quired to join Schen­gen, but has been pre­vented by older mem­ber states that link its ac­ces­sion to progress in fight­ing cor­rup­tion and im­prov­ing the coun­try’s lawen­force­ment sys­tem.

Like Bulgaria, Ro­ma­nia was ad­mit­ted to the EU in 2007 on the con­di­tion that a so-called “Mech­a­nism of Co­op­er­a­tion and Ver­i­fi­ca­tion” set up by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion mon­i­tors its progress un­til de­fi­cien­cies are re­moved.

“Sol­i­dar­ity means both rights and obli­ga­tions, so if they want us to have the same obli­ga­tions, they have to give us the same rights,” Ponta told re­porters in Bucharest on Mon­day. “Ro­ma­nia has suf­fered an in­jus­tice over the Schen­gen is­sue. The coun­tries that are now ask­ing for our sol­i­dar­ity are the same coun­tries that keep post­pon­ing our Schen­gen en­try.”

Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker is to un­veil an am­bi­tious plan on Wed­nes­day in re­sponse to the refugee cri­sis over­whelm­ing Europe. 160,000 refugees are ex­pected to be re­lo­cated from Italy, Greece and Hungary.

A Reuters re­port dis­closed that Ro­ma­nia will be asked to ac­cept 6,351 of them, while Ger­many will take in more than 40,000 and France 30,000.

Ro­ma­nia can ac­com­mo­date as many as 1,500 refugees in ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties, Ponta said.

Bulgaria is in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion to Ro­ma­nia with re­spect to Schen­gen. Bul­gar­ian news­pa­pers re­port that Ponta has spo­ken on the phone with Prime Min­is­ter Boyko Borissov, and that the is­sue dis­cussed was the refugee cri­sis.

The Bul­gar­ian gov­ern­ment press ser­vice re­jected al­le­ga­tions that the refugee cri­sis has been linked to the two coun­tries’ ad­mis­sion to Schen­gen.

When Bulgaria and Ro­ma­nia joined the EU on Jan­uary 1, 2007, there were short­com­ings re­gard­ing ju­di­cial re­form and the fight against cor­rup­tion in both coun­tries. In the case of Bulgaria, prob­lems also re­mained re­gard­ing the fight against or­gan­ised crime.

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