The Dutch Parliament adopted a resolution stipulating that the Netherlands should not vote for the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area, the Dutch MEP Sophia in’T Veld, the coordinator of the Renew group in the Commission for civil liberties (LIBE) of the European Parliament, announced Thursday, in a statement for Agerpres.
“To my great regret, I just found out a few minutes ago that the Dutch parliament 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 voted against this resolution, we want Romania and Bulgaria to immediately join the Schengen area, 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 (with the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to Schengen, ed.) You have to understand that not everyone in the Netherlands is against it. My party wants Bulgaria and Romania to join Schengen immediately, but most of the parties in the government do not want this,” said Sophia in’T Veld.
The Dutch parliamentarians ask the government not to vote for the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to Schengen, asking to analyze the functioning of the rule of law, the decrease in the level of corruption and organized crime in the two countries. The document adopted by the Dutch parliament states that problems related to corruption and organized crime in a Schengen country “may cause major problems for the functioning of the border control of the country concerned and could therefore pose security risks for the Netherlands and for the entire Schengen area”.
In the Netherlands, after the parliamentary elections of March 15-17, 2021, a coalition agreement for the period 2021-2025 was signed between the Liberal Conservative Party (VVD, member of the Renew Europe group), the Democrats 66 Party (D66, member of the Renew Europe group) , the Christian-Democrat Appeal (CDA, member of the EPP group) and the Christian Union (member of the EPP group). On January 10 this year, the current coalition government led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) was installed.
Romanian PM: Romania meets technical requirements for accession
In retort, Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca said that the Duch Parliament’s vetoing Romania’s joining Schengen is not worrying, stressing that Romania has done everything necessary to meet the technical requirements for accession.
“We are not worried at all because Romania has done everything necessary in order to meet the technical requirements for accession to the Schengen area, which was also proven by the results of the checks made by the commission nominated in this respect,” Ciuca said on a working visit to Dolj County.
The Romanian PM added Dutch officials can come for a fact-finding visit where they consider there are problems.
“We have voiced our willingness, including in the bilateral relationship with the Netherlands, to welcome them for a fact-finding visit, we are able to accept this bilateral collaboration so that they can check and see that we are prepare to access the Schengen area,” said Ciuca.
He reiterated Romania’s efforts regarding compliance with the conditions related to the rule of law, corruption and organised crime.
“I can tell you that regarding the rule of law, we have done in such a way that at the level of the government and at the level of the entire coalition, we take the necessary measures, in direct coordination and collaboration with the European Commission, to have a package of justice laws fully aligned with justice elsewhere in the European Union and lead to that process of modernisation of justice in Romania, and on the organised crime side we have state institutions that are very well consolidated and I am convinced that they are doing their duty as they have so far done.”
President Iohannis: We have a chance, but there is no guarantee
Before the announcement of the veto tabled by the Dutch Parliament, President Klaus Iohannis pointed out that Romania has a chance to join the Schengen area, but not a guarantee, stressing that the result of the evaluation mission that was in Romania is a very good one, but there are still issues that need to be further clarified.
“Accession to Schengen is much desired by us, and as I think it has been a known fact for 11 years, we practically fulfill the technical requirements. Accession was not achieved, as there is also a political vote in the Justice and Home Affairs Council that did not take place until now. Now there is a window of opportunity, that is, we have a chance, but we do not have a guarantee. In order to maximize our chances, we have have taken many steps,” the Romanian President stated before attending the European Council summit.
President Iohannis welcomed the vote in the European Parliament for the resolution regarding the accession of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia to Schengen, stressing that it is a political vote.
“The vote was overwhelming for the access of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia, but the decision is not taken there. It was a political vote, a very important political signal for us (…) From the information we have, the result is very good for Romania. The evaluation found that Romania is doing very well in this chapter, but it is clear that certain issues still need to be clarified very well, probably even some technical ones, but especially some political and for that everyone is working at their best,” said President Iohannis.