Romania and Bulgaria denied entry to Schengen

The Netherlands and Finland have blocked them. What’s next?

Questions:

What kind of reaction do you expect from Romania and Bulgaria after the Netherlands and Finland have blocked the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen zone? And how should  Romania and Bulgaria react in your opinion?

Answers:

Paul IvanResearch Assistant, Centre for European Policy Studies

The Romanian government will try to engage the Netherlands and Finland in order to convince them to accept the two-step compromise solution for the enlargement of the Schengen Area. This will be done in view of the October European Council and will continue after that if a positive decision is not taken at the summit. Romania is expected to unblock its imports of Dutch flowers in the next few days.

And how Romania should react? Trying to convince the two governments of its preparedness to manage the borders of the Schengen Area is the way forward for Romania. Bucharest should invite Dutch and Finish officials to verify its preparedness in this area. At the same time, the country should continue to reform its judiciary and to crack on corruption in order to gain the trust of all EU member states.

Cristian GhineaDirector, Romanian Center for European Policies

A part of the public opinion in Romania is frustrated because they see it as changing the rules during the play. We were prepared from a technical point view. We confirmes this by a independent monitoring project at the Romanian Center for European Policies, it was also confirmed by the Commissions’s reports.

But this is not a technical issue, it’s political. So another good part of the public opinion says that Romania did not provide on its promiseses to fight corruption. So the insistence of Nederland to link corruption problem with Schengen has ist supporters also, because they see it as a mean to pressure Romanian politicians and magistrates to stay on the right course in combating corruption.

We support the EU and the MSs critical with Romania about corruption but we, as the main EU think tank in Romania, believe also that connecting the Schengen with corruption could have perverse effects and actually decrease the leverage EU has here in bucharest to promote reforms.

Vihar Georgiev, PhD student, European Studies Department, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski

Bulgaria is usually wary of confronting old Member States, so I do not expect any Dutch flower deliveries stopped at the border as was the case with Romania. In fact Bulgaria is yet to deliver an explicit political position. What can be expected is some behind-the-scenes lobbying with E-3 Member States (Germany, France and the UK), as well as some attempts to bring the debate back into the European People’s Party agenda, since the ruling party in Bulgaria – GERB, belongs to the EPP family.

I think that Bulgaria must be much more vocal in its opposition to the Dutch and Finnish position. The blockage of the Schengen accession is part of a dangerous trend of legal voluntarism of some older Member States (remember the drama with the Tunisian and Lybian migrants during the summer). If left unattended, this trend can lead to mutual distrust and real damage to the Schengen borderless area.

 

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