Dutch Elections Fail to Lift Veto on Bulgaria's Schengen Entry

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | September 14, 2012, Friday // 18:13
Bulgaria: Dutch Elections Fail to Lift Veto on Bulgaria's Schengen Entry Bulgaria and Romania will not be joining the Schengen Area any time soon because of the Dutch veto. Photo from banzaj.pl

The Netherlands remains opposed to Bulgaria and Romania joining the EU's open border area known as Schengen regardless of the results in the Dutch parliamentary elections, according to the Dutch caretaker Cabinet.

The Netherlands has been vetoing the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Area since September 2011 out of concerns for corruption, organized crime, and rule of law in the youngest EU member states.

The Dutch government has confirmed the Netherlands' veto on Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen entry in a briefing to the Dutch MPs, DutchNews reported Friday.

The Cabinet of the Netherlands was reacting to a new EU report on the progress both countries have made on reforming their legal systems and stamping out corruption.

In the statement, the Dutch government says much progress has been made in both Bulgaria and Romania but more concrete results are needed to make sure the reforms are sustainable and irreversible.

Given current cabinet policy "these reports show full membership of the Schengen zone for Romania and Bulgaria is not yet on the cards," the briefing said.

The Dutch position also means a compromise proposal, which would allow passport-free travel through Romanian and Bulgarian airports and sea ports, will not be discussed at the September 20 meeting of European justice and home affairs ministers.

In the Dutch early elections this week, the xenophobic PVV party of Geert Wilders lost eight seats in the Parliament, dropping to just 16, and will most likely be left out of the next Cabinet of the Netherlands.

Wilders, who brought down the last government in April after refusing to approve an austerity-driven budget, is not expected to play any role in the future coalition.

There have been hopes in Bulgaria and Romania that the far-right party's defeat might lead to the Netherlands softening its stance on their potential Schengen entry.

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Tags: Dutch, the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, Mark Rutte, pro-eu, Schengen, Schengen Area, Schengen Agreement, veto, Schengen Accession, PVV, Freedom Party, Romania
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