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PM Ponta: Romania was wrong for voting against mandatory migrant quotas. First refugees to arrive in the upcoming period
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PM Ponta: Romania was wrong for voting against mandatory migrant quotas. First refugees to arrive in the upcoming period

PM Victor Ponta told B1 TV on Monday evening that Romania was wrong when voting against the mandatory migrant quotas at JHA Council next to Hungary and Slovakia, adding he takes this mistake upon himself, along with President Klaus Iohannis.

“I think that episode is gone and that we found out that in Europe you don’t have to be necessarily by Hungary’s side against the others and you should acknowledge what you can win,” Ponta said. “I take this mistake upon me, together with the president. Myself, the Interior minister, there were more of us there, we discussed it a lot”.

Asked why we came at that mistake, the premier answered the media pressure was weighing a lot. “I think the media pressure weighed very much in this. The president announced something, I presume it was hard for him to back away,” Ponta stated.

Ponta also informed that our country is getting ready to receive the first refugees that will be allotted according to the mandatory quotas. According to the prime minister, they will arrive in Romania in the upcoming period, with the first refugees families coming by the end of the year.

He reminded there are two camps for the refugees set up in Timis, while facilities are being sought. However, Ponta warned the immigrants have to be integrated in the society.

“The problem is that if they receive the statute of refugees, they are equal with the Romanian citizens, only they are not allowed to vote. As for the rest, they can go wherever they want, I cannot keep them in Romania if they don’t want that. They have the right to go to the hospital theoretically, the problem is that they don’t have a health card, theoretically they can go to school, practically they don’t have school admission files, theoretically they are allowed to work, practically their studies are not recognized. They cannot even open a bank account,” Ponta explained.

Yet, the premier the refugees should not be kept in permanent camps. “To keep them in permanent camps is the biggest mistake. They don’t have conditions, expenses are very high. Now we realized that we have allotted RON 3 per day for a refugee. It’s embarrassing and dishonorable. The issue is to try to integrate them, to help them find a place. In reality we don’t have this culture and expertise,” Ponta said.

The head of the Executive also informed that our country will give a grant to Serbia to manage the refugees’ crisis. “Our Serbian neighbors asked for our help. I think we’ll give this aid on Wednesday. Part of the refugees is in Serbia, others are at Turkish-Greek border. There are several ten of thousands of people in Edirne camp whom the Turkish authorities banned to leave. Some of them went to Croatia and most of them went to Germany, Austria, Sweden,” Ponta pointed out.

About Alina Grigoras Butu