Romanian President Iohannis doesn′t think EU will split | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 11.09.2016
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Romanian President Iohannis doesn't think EU will split

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis believes that the European Union will manage its divisions over refugees. He talked about that and more with DW after his recent meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

DW: Mr. President, refugees will be one of the main topics at the EU summit in Bratislava. Will Romania follow German Chancellor Angela Merkel's line and call for more solidarity? Or will it align itself with the Visegrad states and reject refugee quotas outright?

Klaus Johannis: Romania has said very clearly right from the beginning: We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And we have consistently acted accordingly. It may not be widely known that although we voted against the quota in the beginning, we have implemented it ever since the decision was made. Romania is taking in refugees - as many as want to come to Romania, which isn't a lot. But that's just part of what we're doing. Romania is the second-biggest participant in (EU border agency) Frontex after Germany. This is how we view our function in overcoming the refugee crisis. We certainly don't want to stand by and watch; we want to be part of things, to help find a solution.

We're seeing that the so-called Balkan route is increasingly being closed off, with the addition of more walls and fences. There are suggestions that another route could open up, this time across the Black Sea and Romania. Does Romania have an emergency plan to deal with such a situation?

Romania is not a member of the Schengen zone, unfortunately. But that has put us in the situation of having to protect our external borders ourselves. That's what we're doing, and we're very successful. There have been attempts by groups of refugees to come from Serbia to Romania and travel on from there, but we were able to prevent it. Similarly, we would prevent anyone from trying to come to Romania across the Black Sea. We've discussed it with our neighbors. But it's unlikely that people would attempt this, because the Black Sea is much less accessible than the Mediterranean, for example.

Do you believe that the European Union will fall apart over the refugee issue? Could it result in the secession of core members, leaving the periphery to its own devices?

No, I don't think so. I believe in Europe. I'm pro-European. The EU will cope with this crisis, as it has coped with other crises in the past. The migration issue will not lead to the division of Europe.

Klaus Iohannis has been the president of Romania since 2014. He is from the Transylvanian Saxons, a German-speaking minority, and was previously the mayor of Sibiu.

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