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Foreign Ministers Aurescu, Maas discuss in Berlin Romania's Schengen accession, EU enlargement

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Foreign Affairs Minister-designate Bogdan Aurescu met on Thursday in Berlin with his German counterpart Heiko Maas, with the two top diplomats discussing, among others, Romania's "legitimate" objective to join the Schengen area and the EU enlargement prospects, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a release.

The two officials reviewed the very good stage of the bilateral dialogue regarding Romania's German minority within the joint government committee on the German minority's affairs. Bogdan Aurescu emphasized on this occasion the policies of the Romanian state aimed at preserving the German minority's cultural, linguistic, social identity, as well as the preservation of its material heritage.

In this context, he stressed that this instrument of bilateral cooperation represents a model worthy to be followed by other states. Minister Maas thanked the Romanian side for making sure that the members of the German minority enjoy top standard rights.

Bogdan Aurescu's meeting with the German Foreign Minister also included an exchange of views on the priorities on the agenda of the German EU Presidency in the second half of 2020.

At the same time, he presented Romania's position regarding the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework, stressing the importance of appropriate allocations for the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy.

Bogdan Aurescu insisted on "Romania's legitimate goal of joining the Schengen area, and highlighted the fulfillment of all the necessary criteria, as well as Romania's important contribution to EU security." In this regard, he stressed that the functionality of the Schengen area will not be complete without Romania's accession, the cited source said.

The two Foreign Ministers expressed convergent views on the strategic importance of the EU enlargement policy - with the reiteration of Romania's support for a decision to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia - the need for a European connection of the Eastern Neighborhood states, the relationship with Russia.

Regarding the Republic of Moldova, Aurescu underscored the importance of continuing the strict conditionality policy aimed at the resumption of reforms in the European spirit. The two ministers agreed on a strengthened Romanian-German dialogue on the Republic of Moldova.

The two chief diplomats also discussed the perspectives of the Three Seas Initiative, with Bogdan Aurescu expressing Romania's support for Germany becoming a full participant in the Initiative.

The prospects of the Middle East Peace Process were another subject on the agenda of the talks, with the Romanian and German sides expressing convergent positions.

Bogdan Aurescu thanked his counterpart for Germany's supporting Romania's accession to the OECD.

The Romanian official also offered condolences for the victims of the armed attack in Hanau and firmly condemned it, wishing also the injured a fast recovery.

He also thanked the German side for their support with the repatriation of Romanian citizens from the coronavirus-hit areas in China.

On the same day Bogdan Aurescu also met with the head of the Office of the Federal President, Stephan Steinlein, the Foreign Ministry informed.

The Berlin visit of the Foreign Minister-designate takes place on the day of the 140th anniversary of the establishment, on February 20, 1880, of Romania - Germany diplomatic relations, "which highlights the appreciation of both sides for the strategic character of these ties," the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

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