On an official visit to Romania, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was received by president Klaus Iohannis. The latter said Romania’s ties with the Netherlands have an important economic component, as well as a social one, and recalled that this country is the biggest foreign investor in Romania. He also emphasised the role of the Romanian community in the Netherlands, which now numbers 30,000 members. Talks also focused on migration, Brexit and Romania’s presidency of the EU Council in the first part of next year.
As expected, Romania’s accession to the Schengen area was the main topic, given that the Netherlands and other European countries have constantly opposed this process. The Dutch prime minister said his country has always tied Romania’s entry into the free movement area to the fulfilment of the requirements laid down in the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism. This is an issue that the European Commission will also look into, and as soon as it does so, we will see what the next steps are, the Dutch official also said.
The Romanian president underlined Romania’s support for a more efficient management of the EU borders and reiterated his country’s wish to join the Schengen area as soon as possible.
Klaus Iohannis: “The Schengen area has been created through an agreement that also provides for the steps to be taken and the conditions to be fulfilled. These matters have been extensively debated on many occasions.”
The European Commission, Iohannis went on to say, supports Romania’s accession endeavour. Romania’s entry into the Schengen area was also discussed during talks by Mark Rutte with his counterpart in Bucharest, Viorica Dancila. The latter recalled that Romania fulfils the technical requirements for accession and called for confidence in the government’s capacity to respect its commitments.
Viorica Dancila: “The fact that Romania fulfils the technical requirements for accession to the Schengen area, something the European Commission has confirmed, has prompted me to call on the Dutch Prime Minister to support Romania in achieving this goal. I strongly believe that Romania deserves to be in the passport-free movement area and that we should not tie the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to the Schengen requirements.”
The Dutch Prime Minister said the talks with his Romanian counterpart also tackled bilateral relations, which, in his opinion, are very strong, given that trade exchanges between Romania and the Netherlands have increased recently to account for more than 5 billion euros.
(translated by: Cristina Mateescu)