In his first public appearance since Romania was blocked from becoming a Schengen member, Klaus Iohannis calls for patience and diplomacy.
On Monday evening, President Klaus Iohannis joined a press conference together with the Swiss President, Ignazio Cassis, where he finally addressed last week’s events. He stated Schengen membership will continue to be his priority for the following months.
“The vote of the European Council is problematic for all of us in Romania, and I confess I was disappointed and upset after learning of the result. We have been trying to negotiate and work on our issues for 11 years to become Schengen members. […] We managed to change the Netherlands’ opinion of us in the past year through an important collaboration. We even managed to resolve our issues with Sweden.”
The President of Switzerland, a country with no right to vote in the European Union, stated that his nation fully supports Romania. “We do support it because it’s a benefit to our country, not a liability. We should never abandon the fight because sooner or later we will be successful. The current veto is the result of migratory pressure upon Austria, and their leaders should take this into account. “
Here are some of the most important statements of Klaus Iohannis during the press conference:
“On November 16th, all the ministers were invited to Bucharest for an official meeting. All of them signed a declaration in favor of Romania joining the Schengen Area, including the Austrian minister. […] Two days later, he stated that Austria cannot accept a Schengen expansion at this time, and his reason was hard to understand.”
“Romania does not produce illegal migration, nor does it allow it.”
“Austria made various claims that were not based on accurate data. Our data and that from Frontex showed the opposite. During the vote, something interesting happened. For two weeks, Austria claimed that Schengen cannot be expanded because there are too many migrants. However, they were okay with expanding it into Croatia but not into Romania and Bulgaria. […] This is not a positive way of doing politics in Europe. Migration is indeed a problem, but all the data shows that Romania does not produce illegal migration, nor does it allow it.”
“Romania received a negative vote that it didn’t deserve for a problem it didn’t cause. On the contrary, Romania is very involved in blocking illegal migration.”
“In politics, it doesn’t matter if you’re upset, happy, or angry. We were chosen to fix issues. I am determined to continue doing that until Romania becomes a Schengen member. […] Even though this vote upsets me, I won’t back down. […] I will bring this problem up before the European Council.”
“Every problem has a solution, and they are solved by discussions. […] This isn’t the time to look for those responsible. Things could have been handled differently, that’s for certain, and now it’s hard to understand why someone who was in favor of us becoming members two weeks prior is suddenly acting like this.”