In a statement before the Parliament of the Netherlands yesterday, the country’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte explained his position regarding the admission of Romania and Bulgaria to Schengen, “Adeverul” and BTA report.
“Now for Schengen. In principle, we have nothing against Bulgaria or Romania to join Schengen. When they are ready, they can join. The question is this. For both (countries) we need an update and (note – assessment) within the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). This has already been done for Romania, but not for Bulgaria. This is a problem,” Rutte told the Dutch legislature.
“Secondly, the mission currently taking place under the Schengen Evaluation and Monitoring Mechanism is not complete. There are currently no evaluations of the Schengen Information System and the way returns are processed. I have discussed these issues in detail with (Romanian President) Klaus Iohannis, when I met him last week in Sibiu during my visit to the Dutch soldiers, we said that we would first see what would come out of this mission (NB – the Schengen Evaluation Mission) which in our opinion, it is too limited. We will also look at the results of the SME assessment and together we will take an initiative before the Commission to say, ‘Let’s finish this mission quickly,'” added the Dutch Prime Minister.
“If these results show they are ready, they can join. The Netherlands will not object, but then they (the acceding countries) must be strict, correct and committed. Bulgaria’s specific problem is that the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism does not participate in these discussions. In addition, there are many events at the national level, as there is currently no functioning government (…). Both for enlargement and for Schengen,” Mark Rütte concluded.
Dutch MEP Sophie in’t Veld, coordinator of the “Renew” group in the Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) of the European Parliament, announced yesterday that the country’s parliament passed a resolution according to which the Netherlands should not vote for the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area.
In the document, the Dutch parliament calls for “further border surveillance checks” on the part of Romania and Bulgaria, without clearly stating that it is opposed, “Adeverul” notes.
The Dutch MEP Sophie in’t Veld criticized in a statement for the Romanian radio Digi FM the decision of the parliament in The Hague to oppose the accession of Romania to the free movement zone.
“Elected parliamentarians have the right to vote as they want. I am ashamed of the fact that my country does not have a constructive policy, of the fact that it blocks access to Schengen for no reason and that it teaches lessons to other countries. Yes, it is a shame. I would like to see the country stood aside, in an attempt to build a new Europe,” Sophie in’t Veld told Digi FM.
The MEP pointed out that such a decision would help extremist parties, especially those in Romania and Bulgaria.
“There are nationalist, populist and extremist parties in Bulgaria, Romania and the Netherlands. They have the same agenda at the European level, they belong to the same political groups. But at the national level they are in confrontation. The nationalists in the Netherlands are causing people anti-European, anti-Bulgarian and anti-Romanian sentiments. If they succeed in doing so, nationalists in Romania, for example, will use this to stir up anti-European sentiments among Romanians. This is very cynical and I think it is essential that responsible centrist politicians build a united Europe. That means yes take responsibility and say: Bulgaria and Romania meet the criteria, they should be accepted in Schengen”, added the MEP.
“Corruption is a problem, but it is not related to the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into Schengen,” said Sophie in’t Veld. She warned the government in The Hague that now is not the time to accumulate electoral points at the expense of European unity.
“Of course corruption is a problem, but it has nothing to do with the Schengen criteria. Do you have to fight corruption? Yes, of course! But the criteria for joining Schengen are met. So you should be allowed to join to Schengen. You can’t come up with new criteria every time, and that’s exactly what the Dutch parliament doesn’t understand. I think the Prime Minister should show leadership, but I’m afraid he’s not doing enough because of domestic politics. You, Bulgaria and Romania, you are not getting a blank check. You meet the criteria for 2011. Everyone wants European solidarity, European unity. We are in the midst of countless crises: war, energy crisis, inflation, etc. This is not the time to bid to the voters at home at the expense of European unity,” Sophie in’t Veld told Digi FM.