ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La Roumanie refuse un statut de seconde zone dans l’UE
by Mehdi Chebana
Translated Thursday 27 January 2011, by Henry Crapoand reviewed by
Berlin and Paris are blocking Bucharest from entering the Schengen area, a decision that prolongs the French authorities’ the harsh positions
vis-à-vis those countries, and their demagogy concerning the Roma people.
Heated debates in the media, indignation from political leaders, intense feelings of injustice within the population … Romania does not intend to tolerate the decision of Germany and France to postpone admission of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area. Their membership was supposed to go into effect in April this year, but Paris and Berlin consider that "irreversible progress in the fight against corruption and organized crime" must first be made.
“This is discrimination; we must be subject to the same conditions as other countries joining the Schengen area,” protested President Traian Basescu. On the technical side, Romania has fulfilled all the requirements to join the borderless zone, as the recent European assessment reports indicate. "We did our homework," claims the Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi, pointing out that one billion Euros was spent so that border posts and the Romanian administration comply with EU regulations.
The new Franco-German requirements go down very badly at a time when tensions between Paris and Bucharest on the Roma issue have hardly settled. "If new criteria are added, such as the one concerning corruption, I think that France should leave the Schengen area,” said the Social Democrat MP Adrian Severin. He added:"The French government is trying to lecture us about morality, but I think they are in no positionto do so, because affairs such as Bettencourt and Karachi, along with the pressure France has put on Romania to sign trade contracts favorable to France, all these smell of corruption.
Bucharest now intends to use any available means to influence the Franco-German decision. Teodor Baconschi has threatened to block Croatia’s accession to the EU and several MPs said they would refuse to ratify an amendment to the Lisbon Treaty which would allow Germany to retain 99 members in the European Parliament.