European parliament criticises Dutch stance on Romania, Bulgaria

The European parliament has called on the Netherlands and Finland to give up their objections to Romania and Bulgaria joining the EU open border area known as Schengen, according to Dutch media reports on Thursday.

The Netherlands has so far vetoed the move, saying neither country has done enough to combat corruption and organised crime.

The two countries joined the EU in 2007. Joining the Schengen zone would make the two countries responsible for policing a large part of the EU border.

Borders

Dutch members of the European parliament are divided on the issue. GroenLinks says the Netherlands’ position has been influenced by national politics – the Netherlands does not allow Romanians or Bulgarians to settle freely in the
country.

According to website Public Service Europe, GroenLinks MEP Judith Sargentini called the use of the veto a ‘charade’ and accused the Dutch and Finnish governments of ‘cynically and deliberately misleading their public by playing along with incorrect claims that entry to Schengen equates to a carte blanche for all Romanian and Bulgarian
citizens to work in Finland and the Netherlands’.

But both the VVD Liberals and Labour party oppose extending Schengen to cover the eastern European countries. There is ‘reasonable doubt’ as to whether they are ready to guard Europe’s external borders, Labour MP Emine Bozkurt said.

Immigration minister Gerd Leers told news agency ANP there had been no new developments which would allow the Netherlands to change its position.

(www.dutchnews.nl / 14.10.2011)

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