EU to Discuss Romania Schengen Bid in March, Basescu Says
The European Union will discuss in March Romania’s future accession to Europe’s passport-free travel area, President Traian Basescu said.
Basescu met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose countries have expressed reservations about the Balkan country’s accession to the Schengen Zone and discussed entry in one or several steps, he said. A March 13-15 meeting by the EU’s Justice and Internal Affairs Council will include discussion of bids by Romania and Bulgaria to join Schengen, he said.
“I hope we will have a unanimous decision on the accession, which is our right, unless we do something politically stupid at home,” Basescu told reporters today in Brussels after meeting other EU heads of state.
European countries that have opposed the entry of Romania and Bulgaria, the EU’s two newest and poorest members, into Schengen have cited a high level of corruption at their borders, even though the commission ruled they have met all technical criteria to join. The two Balkan nations need Schengen, which enables free travel within borders of the zone’s members, to further integrate into Europe.
Romania was engulfed in a power struggle between Romanian Prime Minister Ponta and Basescu during the summer, which culminated in a 52-day suspension for the president, followed by an invalidated nationwide impeachment vote on July 29.
That dispute raised concerns from EU leaders, including Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
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