Press release

The statements of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Cătălin Predoiu, before the Council of Justice and Internal (Home) Affairs

Good morning!

Today, at the meeting, among other things, we will discuss the issue about the fight against drug trafficking. And I think this is a very important topic. Europe has a serious problem with drug trafficking. And I think we need to take urgent measures, vigorous solutions and strengthen our cooperation.

We need to encourage our national police to share more information about this. And I think that all EU member states should allocate more forces, more policemen to the fight against drug trafficking. It is becoming, as I said, one of the main vulnerabilities of the European Union.

In Romania, we started a very solid campaign on this topic. The Supreme National Defense Council made an important decision, forming an inter-institutional working group. Among the institutions present in this group is the Ministry of Internal Affairs. We cooperate to dismantle organized crime groups involved in drug trafficking and human trafficking.

We will also discuss migration today. Migration is another serious issue that threatens the stability of the European Union and its member states. In Romania, we have taken very serious measures to combat illegal migration. We have made important progress in the last year. In fact, we have reduced illegal migration by about 92%. We have borders, for example, with Serbia, where we implemented a pilot project, resulting in the reduction of illegal migration to zero. Last year, around 40 cases of illegal border crossing were registered. We will continue this pilot project.

A few minutes ago I signed a letter with Commissioner Johansson to strengthen this pilot project. We are ready to make our expertise available to all EU member states that wish to cooperate with us. In terms of the Dublin Agreement, we have a success rate of about 80%. Romania is in the top three EU countries that correctly apply the Dublin Agreement. And I think that if all the member states do the same, by strengthening border protection, by applying the Dublin agreements, by applying the migration package, we will seriously tackle this problem.

We cannot have a lack of homogeneity within member states in the application of agreements on asylum and migration. We cannot have differences between countries when it comes to protecting borders and dealing with illegal migration. I think we all have to perform in this direction. And Romania is one of the countries that is doing very well, compared to other EU countries. We have countries in the EU with rates of around 3% in terms of the Dublin Agreement. So, if we look at the situation on the ground, we can see that there are member states that correctly apply the agreements, protect the border and, in that order, contribute to the security of the whole EU. That is why, when we talk about Schengen, I think that Romania could bring more stability to the Schengen area, it could strengthen the Schengen area, and it is not at all right to continue to have only a partial integration within the Schengen area.

It is true that we took an important step last December by entering Schengen with air and sea borders, but I believe that this progress should be followed by another step this year itself.

We will proceed in this sense with our colleagues and friends in Austria, from other member states. We are ready to cooperate on border protection, illegal migration, and also police cooperation. We are doing very well in this regard and I think that this should be the basis for the decisions going forward.

That is why I said that in terms of migration, in terms of border protection, Romania is a very good example and we are ready to contribute with our expertise to strengthening the entire European Union and the Schengen area as well.

Thank you!

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