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13 Sep 2018

Dutch PM says “not yet” to Romania’s accession to Schengen

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has once again openly showed his belief that Romania is still not ready to join the border-free Schengen Area. During an official visit in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, Primer Rutte in separate meetings with the Romanian President and PM, expressed his disapproval of Romania’s accession to Schengen Area.

In a joint conference after a meeting at the Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest, the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that he pleaded to PM Rutte for support for Romania’s accession to the Schengen territory.

I underlined Romania’s support for the more efficient management of the Union’s external borders. In this context, I reiterated Romania’s desire to join the Schengen area as soon as possible,” Romanian President told to the press.

Dutch head of executive, Rutte, showed his understanding to President Iohannis and Romania’s desire to join the Schengen area.

“…we will see what the next steps will be, after the assessment to be made by the European Commission,” he said.

However, Rutte was quite straightforward to his Romanian counterpart, after she directly said that she believes “Romania deserves to be in the Schengen Area and we mustn’t relate the issue of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to the Schengen criteria.”

PM Dancila told to the press, after meeting Rutte at the Victoria Palace in Bucharest, that she underlined to him the considerable potential for further development of a dynamic bilateral relationship in the interest of both countries’ citizens. She also pointed out that this was the first visiting Dutch PM to Romania in the last 15 years.

Rutte went a step ahead and forthrightly showed he did not agree with PM Dancila, when it came to Romania’s accession to the Schengen Zone.

We do not agree on all points, such as Schengen, but it is true that we agree on many other issues,” Rutte said.

Romania’s bid to join Schengen

Romania is among the only four EU countries that are still not part of the Schengen, alongside Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus.

Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007. However, the country is still in the process of joining the Schengen area. In September 2011, an attempt of Romania to become part of Schengen was rejected by the Council of Ministers.

Romanian nationals are permitted to travel to the Schengen zone visa-free, but Romania does not have access to the Schengen System.

Romania and Bulgaria have gone through the longest Schengen accession process, since their accession to the area has been perpetually delayed since 2011. The Bucharest authorities claim that they have done all the necessary preparations for full membership.

Earlier in June, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister had accused the Netherlands and France for hindering the accession of Bulgaria into the Schengen Zone. She said that France and the Netherlands were making it harder for Bulgaria and Romania to become part of Schengen despite that the European Commission and the European Parliament have called on the acceptance of both countries, into Schengen Zone.

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