The European Union should consider bringing Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area, plus Croatia, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has stated in the European parliament on Wednesday, during his annual speech on the state of the Union.
“It is high time to bring Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area. Croatia too deserves full membership in the Schengen area as soon as all criteria are met. The EU must offer credible membership prospects to Western Balkans,” Juncker said, according to Reuters, quoted by the Romanian media.
On the other hand, the EC President said that “there cannot be second-class workers in Europe. People working in the same place doing the same work should receive the same remuneration. There can be no second-class consumers in Europe. I cannot accept that people, especially in central and Eastern Europe, are buying poorer quality products with the same labels and packaging as in other countries.”
Summit in Sibiu
On the other hand, EC President Juncker has proposed on Wednesday to have a European summit in Sibiu, right after the Brexit is completed, i.e. on March 30, 2019, one day after the deadline to complete the Brexit, ‘Le Echo’ informs.
The source says the summit would aim making decisions for a more democratic future Europe.
Juncker asked European Council President Donald Tusk and Romania, which will hold the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2019, to organise a special summit in Romania, on March 30, 2019. The EC President said he wishes the summit would take place in the beautiful city of Sibiu, or Hermannstadt, to make the necessary decisions in order to build a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe.
Moreover, the European elections would take place several weeks after this event, in May 2019. “Europe will go ahead only if it chooses boldness,” Juncker is quoted as saying.
According to the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), completing the process of joining the Sehengen area is subject to the unanimous decision of the Member States, at the level of the EU Council. MAE notes that currently Romania is enforcing most the acquis on Schengen and acts as a de facto member, with an important contribution to the Schengen area security, managing more than 2,000 km of EU’s foreign border.
Romanian President, PM hail Juncker’s statements
President Klaus Iohannis hailed the proposal forwarded by Jean-Claude Juncker that Sibiu should host the EC Summit in 2019, while also praising the unity message of the EU to enhance the European project, the Presidential Administration announced.
“During its mandate at the helm of the European Union Council, Romanai will continue to firmly act as an active partner, with a constructive, unitary and pro-European approach on the actions that will be taken, which target the EU’s future. Romania’s President also appreciates the European Commission has reiterated support for our country’s joining Schengen area,” says the Presidency’s release.
In his turn, PM Mihai Tudose has stated that the EC President’s message is “extraordinary”. “It’s the first time that the European Commission doesn’t criticize us and when it appreciates the steps that we all have taken,” the PM said at the beginning of the Government sitting.