Finland is the second country to announce that it will veto Romania and Bulgaria’s entry into the Schengen area at the upcoming Justice and Home Affairs meeting on Thursday, March 7, according to the Finnish state television YLE. Both government and parliament representatives in Finland said the two countries are too corrupt and do not live under the principles of the lawful state, thus not complying with the two preconditions for Schengen admission.
The Finnish Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen (in picture) said Finland’s position is not related to the East European Roma who come to beg in Finnish towns. Räsänen went on to say the two countries have been too easily accepted into the EU.
Finland’s statement comes after Germany made a similar one, letting Romania and Bulgaria know it will use its veto at the vote.
Romania’s most recent reaction to the Schengen issue was not to push for a vote in the upcoming Justice and Home Affairs council meeting, and not seek any more deadlines, according to Prime Minister Victor Ponta. Earlier, President Basescu said that in fact seven countries would have used their veto against Romania at a potential vote on Schengen expansion, but the PM argued that Romania was unaware of other vetos, apart from Germany’s. Basescu did not give any country names, but the Romanian media suggested a No would also come from The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Finland, Denmark and Austria.
The Schengen area has 25 member states, out of which three are non-EU members. Only 15 countries have implemented the common border control and visa provisions.
Germany, via its federal Internal Affairs Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, announced its plan to block Romania and Bulgaria’s Schengen accession. The two countries have been trying to become members of the free movement zone since 2010, but have been continually blocked by some Schengen members, such as The Netherlands, France, and now Germany and Finland.
A new delay in letting Romania in the Schengen area brings other political risks, which can be even higher, such as not respecting the 2014 deadline for freeing the labor market for Romanians, said former Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Mircea Geoana.
“I am afraid that, given the poor reputation we have in Europe, some extra mechanisms may appear, which would avert Romanians from working freely across the EU. Even if treaties are broken again, what is happening to Schengen can happen to the free access on the labor market. This would indeed be a disaster,” said Geoana.
(photo source: Päivi Räsänen’s website)