Sky News: A Passport to Disunity

Views on BG | September 23, 2011, Friday // 08:23|  views

A woman with a child gets her passport checked at Kapitan Andreevo border crossing point between Bulgaria and Turkey, Feb 2011. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Robert Nisbet

Sky News

It isn't just the single currency crisis which shows how fragile Europe's political union can be.

Take the Schengen Agreement whch allows the inhabitants of participating European countries to whizz over borders without flashing their passports.

Bulgaria and Romania may have been welcomed into the EU back in 2007, but that doesn't mean they've been embraced by the union's wealthier members.

Today Finland and the Netherlands blocked attempts by the newbies to be included in Schengen, citing concerns about corruption, and a unanimous vote is needed.

It's bloomed into a trade war, with Romanian authorities turning back truckloads of Dutch tulips, claiming health concerns.

It's a clear sign that not all EU countries are created equal: Romania and Bulgaria are assessed by the EC every two years on a variety of metrics.

But it also shows how national political concerns can lead to sclerosis in the wider union: France and Germany backed the countries' accession, but immigration issues are red hot in Scandanavian countries.

Another day, more EU disunity.

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Tags: justice and home affairs, Schengen, Schengen Area, Schengen Agreement, EU, Schengen Accession, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Interior Minister, Finland, Netherlands, veto, Gerd Leers, Paivi Rasanen, Germany, France, Polish EU Presidency, Poland, home affairs, Romania, Bulgaria, European Union


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