EXCLUSIVE Dutch government announces „positive stance on Romania and Croatia’s Schengen accession” but has „rule of law concerns” for Bulgaria
The Government of the Netherlands announces in a press release sent to G4Media by the Embassy in Bucharest that it „has a positive position towards the accession of Croatia and Romania to Schengen”. As for Bulgaria, however, the Dutch government says it still has concerns about corruption and respect for the rule of law.
The government in The Hague justifies its change of position towards Romania by the existence of two positive Schengen evaluation missions (one with experts from the Netherlands), but also by the latest CVM report of the European Commission.
The government led by Mark Rutte announced in the press release that it had informed Parliament of its position on Friday.
Also on Friday, a committee in the Swedish Parliament voted for the Swedish executive to support Romania’s accession to Schengen, meaning that Austria remained the only EU member state still opposed to welcoming Romania into Schengen.
Full press release in English:
Bucharest, 2 December 2022. Dutch government forward-leaning with regard to Schengen accession of Romania on the basis of the EU Commission’s two recent positive Schengen assessments and the progress identified in its recent CVM report on the rule of law in Romania
The Dutch government informed parliament earlier today on its position with regard to, among other aspects, Schengen accession of Romania which is on the agenda of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council of 8 December.
In its letter to parliament the Dutch government reiterates its merit-based approach to Schengen accession highlighted by prime minister Rutte during his recent visit to Romania. Accession can only take place if the respective EU Member State fulfils all requirements for Schengen accession. This requires a positive, up-to-date Schengen evaluation led by the European Commission.
In accordance with its long-standing position, the Netherlands in this context also attaches particular importance to the state of the rule of law in the EU Member State wishing to join Schengen. After all, a well-functioning system based on the rule of law is essential for the cooperation between EU Member States and for the proper functioning of the Schengen Area.
Against this background, the government welcomes the EU Commission’s two recent positive Schengen assessments and its recent CVM report on the rule of law in Romania.
The combined result of the two Schengen fact-finding missions illustrates that Romania has continued to invest in border policy since the previous EU Schengen fact-finding mission of 2011 and that it correctly implements the subsequent Schengen legislation. Making available sufficient border personnel however remains an important area of attention.
The Commission’s recent CVM report on Romania outlines the progress achieved in the field of the rule of law since its previous report of July 2021. The report however also identifies that a number of the 20 CVM recommendations have not been fulfilled.
The Dutch government welcomes the intention of the Romanian government to proceed in fulfilling the remaining CVM and Venice Commission recommendations.
Given the EU Commission’s two recent positive Schengen assessments and the progress identified in its recent CVM report on the rule of law in Romania, the Dutch government is forward-leaning with regard to Schengen accession of Romania. It will take the parliamentary discussion following in the run-up to the JHA Council of 8 December into account in determining its final position on this important matter.
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