Netherlands: Progress in Romania and Bulgaria inadequate, says government

HOLLAND

The new EU member states Romania and Bulgaria are still doing too little to tackle corruption and organised crime, and their management of EU funds is still below par, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes. The government will continue to press for improvements in both countries at European level. If this does not happen, it will have consequences for the transfer of EU funds to the two countries and their accession to the Schengen area.

The government announced these conclusions today in its response to the progress report that the European Commission presented on 22 July under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) for the two countries.

The letter that European affairs minister Frans Timmermans, foreign minister Maxime Verhagen and justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin sent to the House of Representatives today identifies many shortcomings, including ‘the lack of political will to implement irreversible reforms’.

In September, at the request of the European Parliament, the European Commission will present a report focusing entirely on management of EU funds. Payments to Bulgaria were previously suspended owing to inadequate management. If it is found that this is still the case, the Netherlands will call for further measures. The government was already calling for measures in May, in a letter that Mr Timmermans sent to EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot.

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