Bulgaria ‘Losing Patience’ with Dutch Schengen Veto

Bulgaria has “lost patience” with the Netherlands over its veto on the Bulgarian bid to join the Schengen Area, Bulgaria’s Deputy PM and Finance Minister, Simeon Djakov, has told the Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf.”The Netherlands has been changing the rules of the game for election campaign reasons,” Djankov told the Dutch paper, referring to claims that Dutch domestic politics played a major role in the Dutch government’s decision to veto the Schengen accessions of Bulgaria and Romania in September 2011.“Bulgaria and Romania are victims to the political games in The Netherlands. Populism and nationalism are taking over, and we are thus devoid of our fair chance,” the Bulgarian minister said, adding that he hopes that The Netherlands will revise its Schengen veto at the EU home affairs council in October.

Djankov’s comments came a day after it became clear that the meeting of the European Union Justice and Home Affairs Council, scheduled for September 19-20, which was supposed to tackle the issue of Bulgaria and Romania’s Schengen bids, had been postponed until October.

The minister said that Bulgaria had done much to crack down on corruption and reform its judiciary.

“It is time for The Netherlands to see some sense… The other EU member states recognize [Bulgaria’s progress] but you don’t. It’s just not fair,” Djankov said.

He also suggested that The Netherlands is now being ridiculed in Brussels for failing to live up to its earlier commitments to allow Bulgaria and Romania into the passport-free zone.

“The Netherlands is risking its reputation,” the minister claimed.

Djankov is a former World Bank executive, graduate of the University of Michigan, and, the newspaper noted, one of the 100 most frequently cited economics scholars in the world.

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