Euronews: Bulgaria, Romania Victims of Pressure from within Finland, the NetherlandsViews on BG | September 23, 2011, Friday // 08:32| views
A Bulgarian border policeman checks the levels of carbon dioxide in a truck at Kapitan Andreevo border crossing point between Bulgaria and Turkey some 300km from Sofia, 11 February 2011. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Bulgaria and Romania have been blocked from entering the EU's passport-free Schengen zone by Finland and the Netherlands. Under pressure from within their own countries, Finnish and Dutch representatives told a meeting of interior ministers in Brussels, that they were vetoeing Schengen accession for the two eastern european countries.
Dutch Immigration Minister Geerd Leer outlined his concerns: "In spite of the good work that has been done in recent years by the two states, I must conclude, that there are many shortcomings. Shortcomings in the areas of the reform of the judicary, the fight against corruption and the fight against organised crime."
There was no agreement on a compromised proposal that people travelling by air would not have to go through border checks at airports
The Romanian representative was not happy with the explanations given for the veto. Minister for Home Affairs Traian Igas said: "The companies who invest in Romania most, and have the biggest capital assets, are from the Netherlands. If Dutch businessmen and companies have the confidence to invest in Romania, it is hard for us to accept the official declaration of the Dutch government. In fact, Dutch bussinessmen actually disprove the the official declaration."
Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen hopes will be decided when the European Council meets in October, but a unaminous decision will still be necessary.
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