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Philippe Gustin: Romania's accession to Schengen space is a technical question, turned into a political one

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Ambassador of France to Romania Philippe Gustin believes that Romania's accession to the Schengen space ' is a technical issue turned into politics, both in Romania internal policy and in that of the EU countries'.

'One should not make a confusion between various things. Unfortunately, this confusion was maintained in previous years, including by mass-media. There are three different things. First, Schengen represents an opening of borders in a space. Materialization of Schengen is that French, Romanians, Chinese or Americans board, for instance, the plane in Bucharest to go to France and, when reaching the airport in Paris, we are forced to wait for passports control. This is Schengen. The second issue with which this is confused is the free movement of people. Free movement is called the European Union, and Romania belongs to the European Union, therefore it is entitled to the free movement of its citizens. Thirdly, there is the freedom to work and settle in the European Union. Romania and Bulgaria have a derogatory status until January 1, 2014, but it is going to disappear from that date. These are the three topics that should not be confused ', said Philippe Gustin on Thursday, in Cluj- Napoca (426 km north- west of Bucharest ), in a press conference.

According to him, Romania has invested massively to secure country borders, particularly air borders, and this aspect should be raised for discussion and explained when the final decision is made on Romania's Schengen accession bid.

Romania and Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen Area is of a purely technical nature and the decision thereon does not belong to France alone, but to the European Union member countries as a whole, Philippe Gustin added in this press conference, quoted by Agerpres correspondent.

Referring to the issue of Roma communities, the French diplomat stressed that it is both European and Romanian and at the core, this is actually about ‘living together'.

Romanians don't like Roma to be identified as Romanians. And on the other hand, the Roma also have a problem in accepting being Romanians. How should this 'living together' be accomplished? France has the same problem with the Roma population. There is a lot of work to do for achieving the integration and education of the Roma community. This cannot all come down to a magic wand. These are complicated subjects that have been lasting for years. We need to set balanced policies in place, social inclusion policies in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, France, said the French diplomat.

Philippe Gustin also explains that an extremely important responsibility falls on policies aimed at dismantling trafficker rings, because today most of the Roma who settled in France are subject to human trafficking and exploited for begging stealing, or prostitution.

We need to break these networks that exploit them, so that we are further able to move to social inclusion measures. France has a long tradition in receiving foreigners. We are a country of immigration, unlike Romania, which is an emigration country. We have always integrated foreigners along the years. But what a Frenchman cannot accept is that a foreigner on French soil disregards the laws of the country, explained the French diplomat.

 

The French diplomat is visiting Cluj- Napoca to meet with the French students of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy ( UMF ) 'Iuliu Hatieganu ' and of the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (USAMV).

 

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