Bulgarian MEPs ask Dutch PM to stop "groundlessly blocking" its admission to Schengen
The Bulgarian Members of the European Parliament addressed a letter to Prime Minister Mark Rutte asking the Dutch government to stop the “11-year unprecedented and groundless blocking” of Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the Schengen area. “We call once again for equality between all European citizens and all Member States,” they said in the letter on Thursday.
All Bulgarian MEPs appealed today to the Dutch government to take into account the assessment of the @EU_Commission & the resolutions of the @Europarl_EN so that the process of expanding the Schengen area continues with the accession of Bulgaria & Romania by the end of this year. pic.twitter.com/cjgZVvjZpp— Andrey Novakov (@AndreyNovakov) November 10, 2022
Last month, the European Parliament voted to let Bulgaria and Romania join the Schengen agreement - countries through which EU residents can travel without border checks. The MEPs voted that the two countries' exclusion from the Schengen area is “discriminatory” as they have met all the criteria needed to join.
But a few days later, a majority in the lower house of the Dutch parliament passed a motion filed by the ruling party VVD to not admit Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen area until further investigation into corruption and organized crime in the area. The Netherlands is now the only country blocking their accession.
In their letter to Rutte, the Bulgarian MEPs argue that scrapping internal border controls is crucial for Romania and Bulgaria’s economy and security. They point out that the two countries have both made “unceasing efforts” to join the Schengen area and demonstrated positive results in an assessment mission they joined voluntarily as a sign of goodwill and to put concerns at ease.
“In this regard, we, the Bulgarian MEPs, appeal to you to take into account the assessment of the European Commission and the resolutions of the European Parliament so that the process of expanding the Schengen area continues,” they said to Rutte. “Decisions on the enlargement of the Schengen area should not depend on the national agenda of one Member State.”
When the European Parliament passed the resolutions to admit Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen area, Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld (D66) tweeted: "Romania and Bulgaria have met the criteria; they must be allowed to join Schengen immediately. Some member states are moving the goalposts, blocking accession for purely domestic political reasons. In these times, solidarity, unity, and a long-term vision should prevail."