Netherlands Officially Clears Path for Bulgaria's Schengen Entry After Parliamentary Debate

EU | December 22, 2023, Friday // 10:46|  views

After a night of intense debates in the Netherlands Parliament, Bulgaria's full entry into the Schengen zone has received the green light, as reported by recent developments.

Despite falling short of the required majority of 76 MPs in favor of Bulgaria's entry, the rejection of a proposal seeking entry only by air, as suggested by Austria, marks a significant step toward Bulgaria's full Schengen membership.

The government under Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed Bulgaria's fulfillment of Schengen requirements and conveyed the decision to parliament. During the deliberations, deputies had three choices: to support, reject, or abstain from considering the decision, signifying agreement with the government's actions.

However, the New Social Contract party, a newly established political force in the Netherlands, introduced a resolution backing Austria's stance, advocating for Bulgaria's gradual entry, starting with air travel only. Despite the proposal, the parliament's vote did not garner enough support. Notably, the surprising affirmative vote from Mark Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) was juxtaposed with the unexpected abstention of the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV), which recently secured the highest votes in parliamentary elections.

The proposal would have gathered 86 votes against the required 76. 59 deputies voted for full accession. This also does not make the necessary absolute majority. In practice, however, this means that the request to enter only by air has been rejected, which gives Bulgaria the green light for full membership, diplomats explained.

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Tags: Netherlands, Bulgaria, Schengen


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