Romanian minister cancels visit in row with Dutch

ROMANIA

Romanian Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu on Wednesday cancelled a visit to the Netherlands in protest at Dutch criticism of his country’s judiciary reform, officials said. A foreign ministry spokesman said it was an “unfriendly gesture” on the part of the Dutch government to make public the report, which contained “radical views.”

Romanian media reports said the Netherlands wanted the European Union to extend pressure on EU newcomers Romania and Bulgaria to speed up their crackdown on corruption or face losing EU funding.

Efforts by the two eastern European states to take advantage of EU visa-free travel arrangements would also be made conditional on improvements in the fight against crime, the reports said.

In the document submitted to the Dutch parliament, the government sees Romania “lacking the political will for an irreversible commitment to carry out reform.”

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