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The Dutch government supports Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen Area

The Dutch government supports Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen Area

It is clear that Austria, in its resistance to Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen Area, is now completely alone within the European Union. The Dutch Ministry of Justice announced yesterday that it has withdrawn its veto power against Bulgaria’s membership in the Schengen Area, due to shortcomings in the rule of law. However, this change of course must still be confirmed by a vote in the Dutch Parliament, the results of which remain in doubt.

After the parliamentary elections at the end of November, the government in The Hague assumes its duties only on a caretaker basis, and does not have a majority of its own in Parliament. There was a shift to the right during the vote. While the right-wing Freedom Party, led by Justice Minister Dylan Jeseljos, fell to third place, the Eurosceptic Freedom Party, led by right-wing populist Geert Wilders, became the strongest force ever. Wilders is currently trying to form a coalition government that includes the VVD and other right-wing parties.

An official decision is expected in the next few days

Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said on the sidelines of the European Union summit that he expected an official decision to be issued by the Dutch Parliament to end the veto in the Schengen Area “in the next few days.” “We have come a long way to make this possible,” Dinko said, according to the Bulgarian news agency BTA. Talks with Austria will continue. Different “scenarios” are discussed and texts of possible solutions are exchanged. He added: “But one thing is clear: without a positive decision from the Netherlands, it will be meaningless.”

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Interior Minister Gerhard Karner recently softened the veto position he adopted a year ago regarding two countries in southeastern Europe that had been waiting to join the Schengen Area for more than a decade. His proposal for “Air Schengen”, meaning the abolition of Schengen border controls for air travelers from Bulgaria and Romania, was met with mixed reactions.