Latvia’s Ambassador: Decision on Romania’s accession to Schengen during Latvian Presidency, realistic possibility

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Latvia’s Ambassador to Romania Ilgvars Klava on Wednesday said that there is a ‘realistic possibility’ for a decision to be reached during the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union concerning Romania’s accession to the Schengen area, Agerpres informs.

‘Related with the accession to the Schengen area, judging on the data we have, be believe it is a realistic possibility for a decision to be reached during the Latvian Presidency,’ the Latvian diplomat said, during a joint press conference with Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu, on the occasion of Latvia’s taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Klava showed that the Latvian Presidency is determined to remove the remaining obstacles, so that Romania can become a Schengen area member.

‘We are working together on the security issues and on everything that means airports and the movement of some people who have criminal and terrorist intentions. Therefore we must work together on these security issues, but they shouldn’t be used as a pretext or as an excuse for not continuing the expansion of the Schengen area,’ the Ambassador pointed out.

In his turn, the Romanian chief diplomat showed that the accession to the Schengen area represents a very important objective for Bucharest, Romania having already begun to act as a de facto Schengen state in terms of the efforts made for consolidating the internal security of the European Union.

‘We believe that a Romania inside the Schengen area, de jure, not only de facto, represents nothing but an added value, especially in the current internal security context,’ Aurescu said.

He also said that Romania’s external border, which is also the EU’s external border, is already defended as a Schengen border.

‘The equipment used is of the highest quality, some even exceed the performance of the ones used by states already in the Schengen area. As such, from this stand of practical, pragmatic cooperation, for combating the terrorist phenomenon, I believe Romania has no problem whatsoever in joining this effort. The only thing that must be underscored is that strengthening the control, the monitoring of the terrorist phenomenon, the measures that are going to be discussed and decided on a justice and interior ministers level (…) should not affect the fundamental freedoms and mostly this earned right, (…) the free movement of the EU citizens,’ the Romanian Minister said.

He added that modalities allowing the strengthening of the European Union security and safety, on the one hand, and keeping the fundamental freedoms, on the other hand, can be found, Agerpres further informed.

FM Aurescu also said that an ‘ambitious vision’ regarding the Eastern Partnership is needed, by projecting a ‘new roadmap’, underlining that the EU can’t afford to take steps back, Mediafax informs. “Romania is fully committed and will substantially contribute to the modernisation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), to the modernisation of the Eastern Partnership so that it becomes an even more efficient tool to support the European path of our neighbours – we have already submitted several proposals in this regard,” FM Aurescu said. He added that the member states should ratify ‘as soon as possible’ the Association Agreements and the Free Trade agreements signed by the EU and R. of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.

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