Romanian Govt Snubs France’s Roma Rhetoric
There should be no connection between France’s issues with Roma and Schengen area accession, said Romanian officials.
The Romanian government has declared on Friday that there is no connection between the current issues with the Roma immigrants in France and the decision on whether Romania is ready or not, to join Schengen.
“We appeal to the French authorities to stop using the Roma issue as an election campaign argument,” pointed out Romanian officials.
“For me, the ongoing Roma rhetoric in France is just a part of the local election campaign,” pointed out Victor Ponta, Romania’s prime minister.
Bulgaria and Romania have long sought membership in the Schengen free area, but are currently facing strong opposition from various French officials.
Romania and Bulgaria do not meet the requirements for membership in the Schengen free area, announced on Thursday Najat Belkacem-Vallaud, spokesperson of the French government.
“Under the current conditions it is not possible for Bulgaria and Romania to join Schengen,” reaffirmed Francois Hollande’s advisors.
On September 19, the French Minister of Interior Affairs Manuel Valls pointed out Bulgaria and Romania's accession to Schengen area was still not on the agenda.
On Wednesday, he also said Roma in France must be extradited back to Bulgaria and Romania because they could not integrate in French lifestyle, prompting strong criticism from the European Commission.
Some French politicians, such as Jean-François Cope, Chair of former President Nickolas Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), have demanded from current Head of State, Francois Hollande to officially declare his country's position on the matter, as they firmly oppose the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area.
Transitional provisions allowed the EU countries to delay opening their labor markets to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals for a maximum period of seven years from the accession of these countries to the EU in 2007.
Many countries lifted those restrictions long ago, but France will keep them until the deadline laid out in the treaties - January 1, 2014.
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