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HomebulgariaDutch parliament votes against Bulgaria and Romania joining Schengen

Dutch parliament votes against Bulgaria and Romania joining Schengen

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This article was updated with the comments of the President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, made upon his arrival at the EU Council on Friday morning.

The Dutch Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday (20 October) stating that the Netherlands should oppose the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen border-free area.

The news comes two days after the European Parliament passed a resolution with an overwhelming majority, urging the Schengen member states to allow Romania and Bulgaria to join the EU free movement area without further delay.

Dutch MEP Sophia in ‘t Veld lamented the decision, noting that while her party supports them joining, others in government do not.

“I deeply regret this. My party voted against this resolution; we want Romania and Bulgaria immediately to join the Schengen area; you have fulfilled the necessary criteria. You must understand that not everyone in the Netherlands is against it.” said in ‘t Veld, as quoted by the Romanian press agency Agerpress.

The Dutch MPs asked the government of Mark Rutte to veto the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to Schengen, as they want to analyse the functioning of the rule of law and the reduction of corruption and organised crime in both countries, the Romania Journal reported.

The decision, adopted by the Dutch parliament, states that the prevalence of these issues in a Schengen country “can cause serious problems for the functioning of the border control of the country concerned and therefore pose a risk to the security of the Netherlands and the entire Schengen area”.

Commenting on the adopted resolution, the Prime Minister of Romania, Nicolae Cuca, said that the adoption of the resolution was not disturbing to him, as Romania had done everything necessary to fulfil the technical requirements for accession. This included compliance with the matters mentioned by the Dutch resolution.

He added that Dutch officials were welcome to come on a fact-finding visit if they thought there were problems.

Currently, as Croatia is on its way to joining the Schengen zone, the only EU member states remaining outside the union’s border-free area are Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Ireland.

The Schengen area includes non-EU states Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Bulgaria’s President reacts

Speaking to Bulgarian journalists upon his arrival at the EU Council on Friday, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said Sofia and Bucharest had become hostages of internal Dutch politics.

This situation however would not last long, he predicted.

“The most important thing is that all countries are backing Bulgaria”, he said, mentioning the talks he had had with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and a number of other leaders of Schengen states.

“The Netherlands is now alone”, he said.

Asked about his expectations for a solution under the current Czech Presidency of the EU council, he hinted that despite the attempts by Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, the issue would probably find its solution after the Dutch elections in spring.

“It takes a lot of communication efforts to explain the importance of Bulgaria for securing the common EU border”, he said.

Source : Euractiv

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