Netherlands may miss out on top EU position because it keeps blocking Schengen expansion
The Netherlands’ continued resistance to letting Bulgaria and Romania join the Schengen zone may cost it a high-ranking position in the European Union - the CEO of Frontex, the European institution for border control, AD reports.
General Hans Leijtens, currently the commander of the Koninklijke Marechaussee, will present himself as a candidate for the Frontex position at the European Parliament on Wednesday. The job is not connected to the expansion of the Schengen zone. But due to the Netherlands' position on the latter, there is resistance to a Dutch person getting the Frontex job.
The Netherlands is the only country still pushing against Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen zone. The European Commission has determined that the countries both meet the conditions for joining, and the Bulgarian Members of the European Parliament have urged Prime Minister Mark Rutte to change his tune. But so far, to no avail. Letting the countries into the Schengen zone would mean their residents don’t need to go through passport control when visiting other Schengen countries. It would also benefit their trade.
“For political reasons, the Netherlands is blocking the accession of Romania and Bulgaria. After all, the experts say that there is no longer a problem. Read the commission’s report,” said Dragos Tudorache, the Romanian vice chairman of the Renew faction, which also includes the D66 and VVD, according to AD. “If the Dutch government plays the Schengen decision cynically, there is a risk that this decision on Frontex will also become political, even if there is no doubt about the quality of the candidate.”
The Bulgarian MEPs also urged the Netherlands to leave its own politics out of the Schengen decision in their letter to Rutte earlier this month. “Decisions on the enlargement of the Schengen area should not depend on the national agenda of one Member State,” they said.
Admitting a country to the Schengen zone requires unanimous support from all its current members.