Cristian Preda, a Romanian member of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, looks forward to more trust between EU partners over the prospect of delayed acceptance into the Schengen area.
euronews: Mr Preda, Romania probably won’t enter the Schengen space just yet; how is that being received in your country?
Cristian Preda: In several ways. Of course, people who were very optimistic are disappointed. They feel this is a strategy of moving the target, that the harder we try, the harder it gets. Others say, yes, it’s true we have a problem with corruption, and that every means of pressure must be used to make Romania’s justice system more credible. And then, of course, there is suspense, because people want to know exactly what the mechanism might be to eventually get into Schengen.
euronews: Is there a risk in Romania today that confidential information from the Schengen data bank could fall into the hands of organised criminals?
Preda: I believe not, no, the more so since Romania is already part of the network and is using this information. This is working very well. The problem isn’t here. From what I know, there is no risk of this information falling into the wrong hands as you say. That’s not the problem we’re facing.
euronews: What about the Roma question? Has that influenced Germany and France’s Schengen refusal?
Preda: No, that’s speculation. There’s no relation, and people can already move around freely. From a circulation point of view, while Schengen makes it easier, it won’t at all change some people’s mobility. There’s no direct relation. Not only that: most of the Roma left for France, Spain and Italy well before Romania joined the EU, and not many more after it became a member.
euronews: About the external borders… Greece’s entry into Schengen was put back three times, and even today it has a lot of trouble securing its land border with Turkey along a 12km stretch. Do you not think France and Germany have concerns over the European Union’s outer border, Romania’s border?
Preda: There’s more fear than real problems, but sometimes it’s like that. We’ll have to see how to find a certain trust between partners, and so I’m convinced that when we get there Romania, like Bulgaria, will enter the common space.
euronews: Do you think Schengen entry is possibly within months, although some people are talking about a year?
Preda: We have to see. The technical side needs a close look, because, of course, it is a technical problem, a problem of managing the flow and the borders. But it’s also a problem of confidence, and therefore a political problem. That will take negotiating, discussions. We’ll have to see how to achieve the right spirit there was when Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007.