EXCLUSIVE The Netherlands has sent a Schengen evaluation mission to Romania. What the Dutch experts are checking
The Dutch government has sent an evaluation mission to Romania to verify the state of fulfilment of the necessary criteria for joining the Schengen area, official sources told G4Media. The mission is made up of experts and will last until the end of this week.
The Dutch mission came to Bucharest at Romania’s invitation. Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă announced on 21 October that Interior Minister Lucian Bode had invited his Dutch counterpart to Romania to verify that the conditions for Schengen accession had been met.
The invitation came as the Netherlands did not participate in the EU verification mission in October, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the mission was „limited” and did not cover all the issues.
G4Media exclusively showed how the Port of Constanta and the non-EU borders with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova are missing from the targets checked by European experts in the Schengen mission. G4Media also revealed what is missing from the European Commission’s glowing report on Romania’s readiness to join Schengen.
According to G4Media, the Dutch assessment mission focuses on issues such as how visas are granted, data protection and information exchange between Romanian authorities and those of the rest of the EU member states.
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johannson also made a mention of the mission on Wednesday, without giving details of its purpose.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on 12 October in Romania that the Schengen evaluation mission then taking place with the participation of 17 EU member states and the European Commission could be „broader, deeper” and said he was waiting for its results.
„It is very important that all the information is on the table. The European Commission is working now. The Netherlands is not opposed to Romania joining Schengen, but we have to do it in a correct way, that’s why I mentioned the CVM, we have to have a better structural rule of law. About corruption, organised crime, that’s what the CVM is about and then we have to assess it together,” said Mark Rutte.
„The assessment mission could be broader, deeper, we are waiting for the results, so I can’t give you a deadline, but we will not take more time than necessary,” the Dutch Prime Minister stressed.
The Netherlands did not participate in the previous evaluation mission.
Background. The European Commission on Wednesday called on the EU Council to take the necessary decisions without delay to allow Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to fully participate in the Schengen area.
In a communication adopted today, the Commission takes stock of the three Member States’ solid achievements in applying the Schengen rules, says a European Commission press release. In the case of Romania, the Commission notes that it „has high quality and robust border management, including border surveillance and systematic border controls, as well as international police cooperation”. Transport commissioner Adina Vălean said in a meeting with a group of Romanian journalists in Brussels that „this is an extremely positive report and it speaks in glowing terms. It is the best language I have ever seen”. The report will now be submitted to the working groups of the Council of the European Union and a decision will be taken at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8 December. The decision must be taken unanimously, but there are signs that countries like the Netherlands and Sweden may oppose it.
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