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Leonard Orban: to join Schengen, the battle to fight is how long we are delayed from joining not if we are delayed 

de A.C.
Miercuri, 22 decembrie 2010, 10:09 English | Top News

​The letter of the French and German Interior ministers, officially urging the Commission to reject Romania and Bulgaria's joining Schengen in March 2011 clearly set the general expectations we should have. In an interview for, Leonard Orban declared that it is very probably that we will join Schengen in March 2011 and the battle is for how long they will prevent us from joining. In his opinion, it will take years not months to join Schengen. 

Essential information 

  • technically, there is the possibility to decouple from Bulgaria, politically I do not think we will have this option 
  • I do not have explanations for France's decision. What I can say is that I find it hard to understand how a solid relationship might be affected on the long term 
  • There are signals that show clearly that the best moment to join Schengen would have been March 2011 
  • the monitoring mechanism has positive grounds but it can transform itself in a tough instrument against Romania when it is used in other means, when it serves political interests that are not similar with Romania's interests 
  • About a Romanian lobby to Brussels, coordinated: on national interest themes we are not capable of understanding the grounds and if we understand them, we are not able to mobilize ourselves 
  • The vote in the Parliament on the Ridzi case will give a negative tone to the intermediary February 2011 report on justice 
About the letter of the two Interior ministers 
  • The letter talks about remarkable technical progress in terms of implementing Schengen's acquis but on the other hand it highlights other problems like the fight against corruption, and the reform in justice which are covered by the monitoring mechanism 
  • the letter talks about a moment when progress in justice and the fight against corruption are irreversible - that is when Romanian should join Schengen according to the two ministers 
  • the two attempt to establish a connection between Schengen and things that are part of the monitoring mechanism, which are two different matters 
  • politically, there are new rules instated, which have never existed before 
Romania's next steps 
  • to continue its tehnical homeworks and political approaches should also be attempted. However, we need to be realistic: in these conditions, it is most probable that Romania will join Schengen 
  • European countries fear that Romania and Bulgaria could cause an invasion of immigrants and this is mainly why the Europeans fear to let the two countries join Schengen. 
  • France holds elections in 2012, Germany in 2013 and starting 2014 the EU budget will be debated. This is why March 2011 would have been the best time for Romania to join. 
  • Politically, if Romania will not join, it will have an impact on its bilateral relations and its position in the EU. 

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