Adrian Marius Dobre

Romania, for a couple of years, is trying to meet all the necessary conditions for accession to the Schengen area, but every time this process was delayed by an argument, be it CVM or a different one.

We are aware of some European countries’ opposition towards Romania’s Schengen accession, as we are already conscious that blocking its accession is politically motivated and based on an exacerbated individualism born from the wounds created by the current economic crisis.

Obviously, the rational and fundamental arguments, sustained presented by Romania lately, are not the ones that will open the Schengen doors, and the accession postponement becomes a problem in terms that should not be lost sight of:

1. The Schengen area is undergoing a reshaping process so, until Romania will be part of this agreement, is very likely that we will speak of a different Schengen area, other than the one we’re now talking about.

2. On this line there is a probability that the accession conditions may be changed “during the game”, and this implies additional efforts for Romania if it wants to keep up with the latest things and the new requests; moreover, the other states were not treated in a similar manner.

3. All this time, Romania must carry out an opportunities analysis and a pragmatic calculation and must determine if the future Schengen area does or doesn’t remain a space with benefits.

Meanwhile, things do not stand still, the Schengen area architecture is subject to some debates on structural changes. The new governance rules consist of two regulations, one referring to the Schengen Borders Code (for establishing common rules on the temporary establishment of internal border checks, in exceptional cases), and the second one setting a new evaluation mechanism for critical situations at EU level.

The Schengen Borders Code already includes a provision which allows one Member State to reintroduce internal borders controls in exceptional circumstances involving serious threats to internal security and public order. Of course the statement is vague and leaves room for interpretation, and this is basically one of the dangers of this reform. A new and interpretable legislative framework, which could jeopardize the entire project.

We could equally speak about the free movement of workers in Europe in the same way we do about the free movement of European citizens.

We are aware that Romania’s effort to enter the Schengen area has some costs. And I’m not referring here to those related to border security. I refer to the lost economic opportunities generated by the access conditionalities in Romanian space – and of course in the European one – for Turkish investors or from other areas of the East. And when it comes to investors we don’t speak about shawarma or specific products small shops.

These costs, both economic and political, start becoming too large.

This new reconfiguration of the free movement area should not occur without Romania’s involvement and contribution.

Will these new rules be barriers for a deeper accession? How much will lose the Schengen area from its relevance and from its political message consistency after the new setup? Will it still be a symbol of “European citizenship”?

Whatever the answers to these questions, answers we do not know yet, I know for sure that this process should unfold with Romania “in” and not “out”. If we remain outside this process, we won’t be able to make our voice heard in this long and complicated negotiation process, one that has already begun.

 

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