Bulgaria Enraged by Dutch Schengen Veto, Prepares Counter-Measures

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | September 17, 2011, Saturday // 12:47| Views: | Comments: 6
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Enraged by Dutch Schengen Veto, Prepares Counter-Measures Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov spoke in Sofia Saturday in reaction to the Dutch declaration of a veto on Bulgaria's Schengen entry. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria will reconsider its support for the reforms of the Schengen Agreement if it decides it is getting unfair treatment over its application for the visa-free area, Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov announced in Sofia.

The reaction of the Bulgarian government came after Friday night the Dutch government decided that the Netherlands will veto Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the Schengen Area at the meeting of the Council of the European Union on September 22, 2011.

What is more, the Dutch Cabinet made it clear it would oppose the taking of any final decision on the Schengen bid of the two Balkan countries before 2012.

According to Mladenov, the decision of the Netherlands ignores the fact that Bulgaria and Romania have met the criteria for Schengen Area membership.

"If a prudent decision that meets the interests of everybody in Europe, and especially the interests of the Bulgarian people is made on September 22, Bulgaria will support the reform of the EU legislation on the Schengen Area," Bulgaria's top diplomat said.

"If, however, such decision is not made, we will have to discuss very carefully our entire policy from here on with respect to the support that we are granting for the Schengen reform," he warned.

Mladenov criticized the opposition of Western European countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland to Bulgaria's Schengen entry in a subtle way by declaring that "rules are written in order to be obeyed."

He further stressed that Europe's greatest problem at present – the fact that there is a financial and economic crisis in the EU – stems from the failure to obey rules.

"Bulgaria is a state which abides by the rules, and it has proven that – when it comes to border control, fiscal discipline, cooperation with our partners. All that cooperation and goodwill coming from us is based on the understanding that we need to protect the interests of the Bulgarian citizens in a European way that includes and accounts for the views of other nations," the Bulgarian Foreign Minister declared.

Mladenov criticized the decision of the Dutch government to veto Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen accession but stressing that the European Commission and the member states themselves, the Netherlands included, have recognized that the two Balkan countries have met the Schengen membership criteria.

“Yesterday's decision apparently has to do with the domestic political differences in the ruling coalition in the Netherlands,” Bulgaria's top diplomat says, noting further that the decision in question ignores the perfect level of cooperation between Bulgaria and the Netherlands in the field of law enforcement, which is key to crime prevention and tackling.

He described the Dutch Cabinet's position as one of a “rejection of dialogue,” which, in his words, is “unfathomable."

The Bulgarian Foreign Minister went on to declare that the Bulgarian citizens are not “second-hand” citizens of the EU, and neither is Bulgaria's EU membership, and that the Dutch veto on Bulgaria's Schengen aspirations violates the practice of seeking a consensus in the EU.

In his words, Bulgaria hopes that the 25 Schengen member states will take into account the initiatives of the Polish EU Presidency, and that these can become the basis of a consensus.

In the recent months, Poland has suggested that Bulgaria and Romania could be granted a two-phased accession to Schengen by achieving full memberships gradually.

“I hope that all countries in Europe will account not only for the intentions but also for the achievements. Bulgaria's participation in the Schengen Area and the Schengen Information System will only serve to strengthen Europe's security. If Bulgaria continues to be left out of the Area, this will increase the risks for its members. It is in the best interest of everybody to work together on securing the EU borders,” Mladenov said.

After failing to join the Schengen Area by March 2011, Bulgaria and Romania have been awaiting the meeting of the Council of the EU on September 22 to receive a decision on their Schengen fate.

The EU's latest members Bulgaria and Romania, who joined in 2007, have had their Schengen accession blocked by a number of older member states, such as EU juggernauts France and Germany.

Dutch Minister for Immigration and Asylum Gerd Leers was quoted as saying Friday that the Netherlands is against any decision on the joining of the Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen before 2012.

Speaking to the Dutch Parliament Thursday evening, Leers already stated the Netherlands will "work against" Bulgaria and Romania joining the Scdhengen Agreement. Neither of the two Balkan countries is doing enough to combat corruption, Leers told the Dutch Parliament, pointing out this is a fact confirmed by a European Commission report this summer.

Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland have been known to share the Dutch misgivings but the Netherlands appears to have become provided the most categorical "no" to Bulgaria and Romania in Schengen ahead of the much-anticipated September 22, 2011, ministerial in Brussels.

It is a common perception that both Bulgaria and Romania have fulfilled the technical requirements for Schengen accession, but their entry has been opposed on the grounds of what other members claim to be persisting problems with corruption and organized crime.

"Bulgaria and Romania have met the technical criteria for Schengen membership. Unfortunately, the issue has been politicized," His Excellency Leszek Hensel, Ambassador of Poland to Bulgaria, has told Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) in an exclusive interview. He added that the decision about Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the Schengen Area would be shaped precisely during the Polish EU Presidency in September 2011.

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Tags: Nikolay Mladenov, Foreign Minister, Schengen Area, Schengen, Schengen Accession, Schengen Agreement, Romania, Netherlands, Gerd Leers, Dutch, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, France, EU
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» To the forumComments (6)
Cosara - 18 Sep 2011 // 13:59:55

WHO, having exchanged their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed as follows.

Article 12

Within the scope of application of this Treaty, and without prejudice to any special provisions contained therein, any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited.

The Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251, may adopt rules designed to prohibit such discrimination.

Lisbon, 1 december 2009

The problems with Dutch politicians are not restricted to Schengen only, but goes much further. For Bulgarians who are seeking for work with their own Dutch registrated companies, the discrimination and intimidation by state institutions are increasing day by day.

Discrimination and intimidation in the pure sense of the words.


Philippe - 18 Sep 2011 // 10:57:29

Well SuOcrack, let me explain you what the difference is. In Estonia, the UK, Norway and Turkey the impact of Law and Order is a lot higher than in Bulgaria. Their police forces collaborate whenever one of their citizens is wanted for an international investigation. This leads to international trust among the club members.

However, in the BG case, there are more than 1.000 persons wanted by international police forces. We all know that they receive high protection by your authorities. Tsvetanov promised to work on this list. To my knowledge, only a few Bulgarians have been delivered to the Italian justice for ATM fraude. What about the alcohol, cigarette and petroleum contraband bosses? What about the human traffickers? What about the drug lords?

So, for the Schengen case it is simple. Let's continue to control passports. In that way there is still a chance that such people got arrested upon arrival in Frankfurt.

The Dutch were very clear: What use to install expensive infrared camera's if the operator is ready to turn his head away for a 300 Eur bribe. Don't forget that the "ministry of fun" is still there in Svilengrad. why didn't your minister do something about this? Why do they protect them? Is it possible that they took over the business?


peterperfect - 18 Sep 2011 // 08:41:44

5u0crak is not quite correct, from Bulgaria I can drivel to calais in a Bulgarian registered car without showing my passport anywhere except the Romanian border (also not part of Schengen) and I am a UK citizen, also not part of Schengen, of course anyone traveling with me or the same way would be the same.

The point is not however our borders with the EU Schengen area but the external borders of the EU, in Bulgaria's case that would only be Turkey/Macedonia & Serbia as land borders and international flights from outside Schengen into Bulgaria airports and shipping ports receiving ships from non Schengen countries. It is NOT about preventing Bulgarians with extra burdens when traveling but it IS about preventing illegal immigration into the EU along with drugs, human trafficking and all the dregs of humanity that get involved in these areas.

SuOcrack - 17 Sep 2011 // 17:04:25

So, let me get this straight...

a corrupt Estonian can travel to Greece, passing through at least seven countries without showing a passport whereas we can’t just hop over the border without having to show one.

Someone corrupt from the UK (not part of Schengen), once they are across the channel, can drive around all over the place and end up in Greece without once showing their passport whereas we can’t just hop over the border without having to show one.

Someone corrupt from Norway, which isn’t even part of the EU can go to Greece without showing a passport because they are in Schengen whereas we can’t just hop over the border without having to show one.

Someone corrupt from Turkey, with a Special or Service passport, not part of the EU and not part of Schengen, has no more of a problem entering Greece than we do. They don’t even need a visa. They just have to show their passport whereas we can’t just hop over the border without having to show one.

Chushki - 17 Sep 2011 // 16:43:46

What is this ridiculous obsession with being in Schengen?

Even the Danish now ignore the rule and check the passports of all the nazi pigs travelling to their country from germany.

peterperfect - 17 Sep 2011 // 16:40:20

"Bulgaria is a state that abides by the rules, it has proven that" except perhaps the biggest rules and the most important, the rule to combat OC and to reform the judiciary. These two together are more important to the people of Bulgaria and to the rest of Europe than any other. Schengen will fail without these rules being applied, without them OC will make so much money and those who are prepared to take back handers to turn a blind eye (and there are so many at all levels of the system) will get fat on the ill gotten proceeds of drug, human and other trafficking. Wake up you politicians and see the big picture you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Those of you fighting to impliment Schengen without these reforms actually in place and working are either hoping for ill gotten rewards or are blind to the reasons why Schengen is being refused to Bulgaria, either way you need to open your eyes to the real world.

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