Friday

30th Sep 2016

Finland drops veto against Schengen enlargement

  • Finland has left the Netherlands alone in its opposition to Schengen enelargement (Photo: Søren Sigfusson/norden.org)

Finland has dropped its veto against Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the border-free Schengen area next year, leaving the Netherlands as the only blocking country, Romanian foreign minister Teodor Baconschi said Monday (14 November).

"The government in Helsinki on Friday decided to support a two-phased entry of Romania and Bulgaria next year - first the air and sea borders in March and then a decision about the land borders in July," Baconschi told journalists after a two-hour meeting with the Finnish minister.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Meanwhile, in Helsinki, EU affairs minster Alexander Stubb confirmed that his government has changed course and adopted the two-phase approach agreed by most other Schengen countries.

While admitting he has "no illusions" the Netherlands - the only country still opposing Schengen enlargement - will change its position by the end of this year, Baconschi said that the Finnish move was "an important step forward in getting an absolute majority in the council [of ministers]."

All 22 EU countries in the Schengen area - including the Netherlands - have to agree to let Romania and Bulgaria in. The two have met all technical requirements but the Hague and Helsinki - up until now - argued that corruption and organised crime is still too high for the two to be trusted with securing the common border.

Romania also promised to step up its "bilateral police co-operation" with Finland and "send all the information needed to dissipate any remaining reservations" about its rule of law and fight against corruption.

In recent weeks, a number of high-ranking judges and public officials have been prosecuted for corruption and abuse of power.

A report by the EU commission on Bulgaria and Romania's justice efforts is due in February, with the Netherlands pledging not to reconsider its stance until then.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFAEFA Supports a YES Vote in the Hungarian Referendum
  2. ACCAFinTech Boom Needs Strong Guidance to Navigate Regulatory Hurdles
  3. Counter BalanceWhy the Investment Plan for Europe Does not Drive the Sustainable Energy Transition
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region Seeks to Make Its Voice Heard in the World
  5. Taipei EU OfficeCountries Voice Support for Taiwan's Participation in ICAO
  6. World VisionNew Tool Measuring Government Efforts to Protect Children Released
  7. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  8. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  9. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  10. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  11. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  12. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List