The Dutch Parliament wants more Checks before Bulgaria and Romania are admitted to Schengen

World » EU | October 21, 2022, Friday // 11:29
Bulgaria: The Dutch Parliament wants more Checks before Bulgaria and Romania are admitted to Schengen @reneweurope

Dutch MPs passed a resolution yesterday asking the government "not to take any irreversible steps" on the admission of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area until it carries out "further investigations into border surveillance and the reduction of corruption and organized crime in and both countries", reported Romania insider.

According to the MEPs, the current investigations carried out by a team of EU experts on the rule of law, corruption and organized crime in the two countries "are limited in scope" and therefore they are instructing the Dutch government to carry out further investigations on its own.

Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca expressed moderate concern about the vote in the Dutch parliament, recalling that Romanian authorities had invited Dutch experts to carry out on-the-spot investigations into aspects they considered problematic.

He confirmed that all requirements for Schengen membership have been met. The result of the recent visit of the European mission to Romania was positive, Ciuca emphasized.

On October 18, the European Parliament adopted by a large majority a non-legislative resolution in which it calls on the Council of the European Union to take all necessary measures by the end of 2022 to adopt the decision on the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area.

Schengen enlargement requires unanimity in the EU Council.

Currently, the EU countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania are not part of the Schengen area, which also includes non-EU countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein).

Rutte doesn't do enough

Dutch MEP Sophie in't Veld, coordinator of the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee, commented: "To my great regret, I learned a few minutes ago that the Dutch Parliament has adopted a resolution stating that the Netherlands should not vote for the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area. I deeply regret this. My party ("Democrats 66") voted against this resolution, we want Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen area immediately, you have met the necessary criteria."

"I am afraid that the Prime Minister of the Netherlands is doing very little to convince the Dutch Parliament or to take responsibility and say that in the interest of Europe he will agree in the Council to Romania and Bulgaria joining Schengen. You must understand that not everyone in the Netherlands is against it. My party wants Bulgaria and Romania to join Schengen immediately, but most parties in the government do not want that," she added.

Finland is no longer opposed

Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said yesterday that Finland no longer opposes Romania's entry into Schengen, and the decision was made after Romania lobbied Turkey for the admission of Sweden and Finland to NATO, Digi 24 TV reported, quoted from BTA.

"Finland, in a conversation I had with my colleague in July, confirmed to me that it is no longer opposed. Finland at one point, a few years ago, was one of the countries that had reservations about Romania joining the Schengen area, and I think the series of actions we did, including myself, to the Turkish side in support of Finland and Sweden joining NATO was important," Aurescu said.

He indicated that in May he had a conversation in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan together with his Polish counterpart, in which the two pleaded for Sweden and Finland to join NATO.

Aurescu also said that the Netherlands is also not opposed to Romania's entry into Schengen.

"Prime Minister (Mark) Rutte has said very clearly that the Netherlands is not opposed in principle to Romania joining the Schengen area. This vote of abstention, which parliamentarians from his party gave in the European Parliament, is a vote that shows in fact that just as said Prime Minister Rutte, the Netherlands is not opposed to this accession. It does not mean that it is ‘for’ at this moment. It means that the decision-making process is still ongoing, but it is clear that our effort must continue," the minister pointed out.

All five MEPs from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's party abstained from voting in the European Parliament on Tuesday on the resolution with which the MEPs demanded the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to Schengen, the television noted.

A chance, but not a guarantee

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said yesterday in Brussels that Romania has a chance to join Schengen, but there is no guarantee.

He added that the outcome of the country assessment mission was very good, but there were still issues that needed to be clarified.

"Our accession to Schengen is very much desired by us, and as I think has been known for 11 years, we have in practice met the technical requirements. Accession has not been achieved because, at the end of the day, there is also a political vote in the Justice and Home Affairs Council, which it has not happened so far. Now there is a window of opportunity, that is, we have a chance, but not a guarantee. To maximize our chances, we have taken many steps," the head of state said before participating in the European Council meeting.

President Iohannis welcomed the vote in the European Parliament on the resolution on the accession of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia to Schengen, stressing that it was a political vote.

"The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the accession of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia, but the decision is not made there. It was a political vote, a very important political signal for us," said the head of state.

Radev on Schengen: All countries stand behind Bulgaria

All countries stand behind Bulgaria for our accession to Schengen”. President Rumen Radev commented on this from Brussels. The head of state pointed out that our country and Romania are becoming hostages of the internal politics of the Netherlands.

"It is very important to know that in the European Parliament 15 MEPs from the Netherlands voted ‘for’ Bulgaria and Romania. And only four ‘against’. This clearly shows that the two countries are becoming hostage to the internal politics of the Netherlands, and this will not last long," he pointed out.

Regarding the crisis with the election of the speaker of the National Assembly, Radev said that he expects the deputies to constitute a parliament, because important state bodies work in an incomplete composition or with an expired mandate. "If we continue like this, we will lead to a complete blockade of the state," he warned.

The president was categorical that, against the background of the deep crisis, the caretaker government will not raise the issue of Bulgarian consumers going to the free electricity market.

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