A Romanian lawmaker has made a personal appeal to French President Emmanuel Macron to help his country join the visa-free Schengen area, warning about the rise of nationalism and anti-European sentiment if Romania is kept out.
In a speech made at a European Parliament session attended by Mr. Macron, Rares Bogdan said Romania fulfilled the technical criteria for joining Schengen. It has been left „waiting at the door” for „senseless political” reasons, he claimed.
„This unjust situation towards Romanians is accentuating extremist manifestations,” he warned.
„Until now, Romania was a positive exception,” with no anti-EU sentiment in Parliament. „Sadly, things have changed…..and the situation is feeding anti-Western rhetoric.”
„Romania has become a target for extremist, ant-European rhetoric and anti-Semitism.”
Last week, a group of rioters from the nationalist Alliance for the Union of Romanians stormed the city hall in the western city of Timisoara which has a German mayor, Dominic Fritz.
Party leader George Simion who led the riot said the city didn’t need „this kind of foreigner,” and announced the formation of an „anti-Fritz league.” Demonstrators shouted „Get out, you dirty dog!”
It was the latest incident involving the party which has played a key role in staging anti-mask and anti-vaccine protests. It has also said teaching the Holocaust in schools was unnecessary.
In his impassioned and personal speech, the Liberal lawmaker said: „Without France, modernity and modernizing Romania would have taken a lot long longer. We are grateful to you.”
„France was Romania’s permanent advocate in its bid to join the EU,” he said.
„Mr. President, intervene once more in our history!” he said. „Become an advocate of Romania joining Schengen!”
„Be our big brother as you were in the past, in a Europe of values and solidarity. Don’t abandon Romania outside Schengen.”
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