Dutch Govt to Block Again Bulgaria, Romania Schengen Bids - Report
The Dutch government plans to yet again block the issue of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen.
According to diplomatic sources from the European Commission, as cited by local media, the topic of Schengen expansion may not be included on the agenda of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council in March 2013.
The Netherlands is ready to impose a veto because it believes that Bulgaria and Romania have made insufficient efforts to implement reforms.
According to reports of Moldnews, the Dutch government is worried that the political situation in Romania may lead to a halt of reforms.
In end-October it emerged that the discussion of the Schengen bids of Bulgaria and Romania had been postponed for March 2013.
According to information from sources close to the matter, the debate on the issue was postponed over doubts about the ability of the governments of the two countries to keep their obligations.
The issue was to be discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council in Luxembourg in end-October 2012, but diplomatic sources said that the time had not arrived to make decisions.
According to reports of European diplomats, although the discussion of the Schengen bids of Bulgaria and Romania has been postponed for March 2013, this does not mean that a decision can be expected at that point.
The Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council in March 2013 will take place under the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Bulgaria and Romania expect at least a partial accession to Schengen in 2013 through the opening of air and maritime borders.
Although the two countries meet the technical criteria for Schengen membership, the Netherlands has blocked their bids over the lack of results in the fight against corruption and organized crime.
Germany and Belgium started echoing the opposition of the Dutch government to Schengen expansion in the fall of 2012.
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