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Netherlands douses Romania, Bulgaria Schengen hopes

(BRUSSELS) - The Netherlands threw cold water on Bulgaria and Romania's hopes of winning approval from an EU summit Thursday to quickly join the Schengen visa-free travel area.

"We believe that Bulgaria and Romania have not done enough," said Prime Minister Mark Rutte during talks with European liberal leaders ahead of a summit kicking off at 1700 GMT.

"They have made progress, but they haven't done enough to fulfill all the Schengen criteria as we see them."

The Netherlands has made improvements in action against corruption and organised crime conditional to lifting a veto on European Union members Bulgaria and Romania joining the border-free area.

Any decision to expand the 25-nation Schengen area, home to 400 million Europeans who can cross borders without a passport, needs a unanimous vote.

A report from the European Commission last month praised Romania for progress while demanding stronger action from Bulgaria, triggering hopes in Bucharest that the EU summit might disassociate the two when the matter comes up at the summit Friday.

Brussels had praised Romania for responding to some key recommendations, notably saying Bucharest "accelerated the trial of high-level corruption cases."

Rutte's statements seemed to douse any such hopes however.

"With all the problems we have with the Greek border, the question is whether Bulgaria and Romania can implement in the right time on the ground all the prerequisites of the Schengen criteria," Rutte added.

Asked how long his country would oppose entry by the pair, Rutte said: "As long as necessary. That is all up to Romania and Bulgaria.

"I want them to implement all the necessary measures: rule of law, fighting corruption, independent judiciary."

Progress now is expected to be held up until July when the European Commission issues a full progress report.


Document Actions

Netherlands against Romania

Posted by Mihai Ionescu at 03 March 2012, 14:29 CET
I'm a romanian citizen and i support Netherlands in their decision to ban Romania for entering the Schnegen Space. Our president is a mob and also the politicians. They are corrupt and they are there only for their pockets. We are living like slaves here and nobody is listening us. We have prices for food and for living greater then the people in Germany but our salaries are 3 times lower then the people in Europe have. Our politicians have no idea about economy or our security within this European union. Our place is not there. Serbia, Bulgaria and other eastern european countries have a better economy, better security policies and better living than we have, So i say: Yes, Netherlands said the truth about our politicians and about this country.

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Posted by Stoyan Antonov at 09 March 2012, 21:05 CET
...actually a story was described last year in bulgarian newspapers - the former mayor of dutch city maastricht ( i may have a mistake) paid to buy luxirious country home in bulgaria, and after that bulgarian developer doubled the price, and it was paid again; meanwhile the dutch person met with the then bulgarian prime minkister sergei stanishev, who assured him his investment was ok; however when the time came to receive the keys, it turned out that the bulgarian developewr pledged the home for a bank loan, and the dutch politician received nothing; after which he became EU minister for Netherlands, and stated that there was no justice in Bulgaria, and he is 100% right. actually some developers in BG have political ties, and are untouchables, as there is no public control over judiciary in bulgaria (i am bulgarian). so befoe years i had the idea to put all bulgarian prosecutors and judges on detector test for corruption, but nobody wanted to hear my idea.if they did, nowadays bulgaria would have been much better country