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EU president backs Romania’s Schengen bid, slams extremist threat in Europe

romaniantimes.at

The president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy told the Parliament in Bucharest today (Weds) he appreciates the steps made by Romania in view of joining Schengen.

"This will ensure that Romania becomes a safe entry point into the Schengen area," he said, adding that he is aware that border controls require investment and substantial means and that it is not always easy in difficult budgetary times."

Van Rompuy addressed the parliament following a meeting with president Traian Basescu, with whom he talked in detail about the country’s admission to Schengen.

In early March, at the European Council meeting, all European leaders admitted Romania met all the required conditions, he said.

Van Rompuy also said nationalist and extremist forces "are on the rise" and that this threatens further European integration. The EU president spoke in the wake of the French presidential elections that brought 18 percent to the Front National, whose votes Nicolas Sarkozy is counting on to secure re-election on 6 May run-offs.

Earlier, Traian Basescu told a joint press conference with van Rompuy that the two discussed the current threat of the rise of extremist parties in Europe, a trend ‘we have to prevent’, he said.

Tomorrow (Thurs) the EU home affairs ministers will debate in Brussels a joint Franco-German proposal to reintroduce border checks in the Schengen zone. German and French Interior Ministers Hans-Peter Friedrich  and Claude Guéant sent a letter last week to their counterparts in which they call for governments to reintroduce controls at their borders as "an ultima ratio" ( measure of last resort) for a "limited period of time", in order to curb illegal immigration.

Van Rompuy praised the progress made by Romania since its accession to the EU, in 2007. "Your country joined only five years ago, but already we cannot imagine our Union without Romania", he said.




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