Bulgaria's Schengen Hopes Hinge on Dutch Election: Left-Leaning Coalition Pivotal

World » EU | November 22, 2023, Wednesday // 12:30
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Schengen Hopes Hinge on Dutch Election: Left-Leaning Coalition Pivotal

The outcome of the Dutch elections could significantly influence Bulgaria's prospects of joining the Schengen area for free movement. According to Dutch MEP Paul Tang, a left-oriented coalition in the Netherlands could pave the way for Bulgaria's entry into Schengen.

The ongoing elections in the Netherlands witness a tight race among three prominent parties, each with equal chances of securing victory. The liberal VVD, led by Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius, and the Green Left and Labor Party coalition, represented by Frans Timmermans, are key contenders. Meanwhile, Geert Wilders' far-right Party for Freedom and the center-right New Social Contract, represented by Pieter Omtzigt, are also in contention.

Tang highlighted that if the left coalition triumphs, it could enhance Bulgaria's chances of Schengen accession. Conversely, a victory for Wilders' far-right party might hinder these prospects due to its anti-immigration stance.

However, Tang clarified that left-leaning parties would support Bulgaria's Schengen entry provided certain conditions are met. Despite this, the MEP noted the challenge lies in predicting the election results and the subsequent coalition formation, making the political landscape uncertain.

Although the Labor Party is unlikely to withdraw support for Bulgaria's Schengen entry, Tang stressed that the decision might hinge on the international orientation of the coalition formed. The potential for using Schengen as a bargaining chip by the Dutch government was also discussed, potentially trading it for environmental concessions.

It can trade Bulgaria’s entry into the free movement area against some concessions related to the green transition, for example. As an exemplary option, analysts pointed out derogations from the construction restrictions introduced for the sake of ecology. They weigh on the Netherlands, which is among the most densely populated countries in the EU and has areas that literally suffocate from lack of living space.

 

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Tags: Dutch, elections, Bulgaria, Schengen

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