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Finland endorses Romania’s bid for Schengen if conditions are met

The Finnish Minister for European Affairs Alexander Stubb said today (Tues) in Bucharest that his country supported Romania’s bid for Schengen, provided all requirements were met, local press informs.

"Finland supports the accession of Romania to Schengen in two stages and, a decision should be taken this summer, if all requirements are met, in order for the aerial and maritime borders to join the border free area. A possible decision regarding the terrestrial borders might be taken later on," the minister said after meeting the Romanian Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu.

Stubb said there were still several final details to be considered before Romania joins Schengen. "If we are looking at the technical requirements as they have been mentioned in reports by the European Council, these criteria have been met. But there are other details that should be cleared. Among these last hindrances there are the political obstacles more than anything else," he said.

Stubb further said that Finalnd cannot be put on the same level with the Netherlands in what concerns the opposition to Romania’s Schengen entry. The Finnish official explained that the initial opposition of his country was due to the effects of the economic crises.

The Romanian foreign minister told Stubb that his country is ready to join Schengen and expressed his optimism regarding the Summer European Council, exected to give Romania’s go ahead for Schengen.

Diaconescu expressed his interest in strengthening the co-operation with Finland in the framework of FRONTEX that deals with the security of the European borders, as Romania has the second largest border of the EU after Finland’s.

The next meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council, due in September remains crucial for Romania, as the EU ministers are expected to make a final decision regarding the accession of Romania and Bulgaria. Recently, Romania gained the backing of the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, who said in March that the Commission would push for a final solution in September.

The Netherlands vetoed in early March once again Bulgaria’s and Romania’s entry in the border free area.

When they joined the EU on 1 January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria still had progress to make in the fields of judicial reform, corruption and organised crime. To smooth the entry of both countries and at the same time safeguard the workings of its policies and institutions, the EU decided to establish a special "cooperation and verification mechanism" to help them address these outstanding shortcomings.

Even if the MCV is not a criteria for joining EU's border-free area, the Netherlands still opposes Romania's and Bulgaria's accession, arguing the two countries did not make sufficient progress to fight organised crime and corruption. The Romanian President slammed the Dutch veto, after the European Council Summit on 1 and 2 March, as "unlimited abuse".

Tag cloud European  criteria  meeting  Minister  Netherlands  Diaconescu  operation  Bulgaria  Finland  Schengen  final  Romania  supported  borders  Stubb  president  Council  requirements  Affairs  Finnish

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