Sweden Democrats reportedly looking to block Romania’s Schengen bid
Romania’s hopes to join the Schengen area by year’s end could reportedly be squandered not only by the Netherlands’ refusal but also that of Sweden, after it was revealed that the far-right Sweden Democrats are against it.
The Swedish government recently put forth a proposal to the parliament stipulating that the country support Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia’s bid for Schengen membership. The government, however, does not have the majority in the Swedish legislative and may witness the rejection of its proposal. The cause for that rejection is the party on which the government relies for its majority, the Sweden Democrats (SD).
PM Ulf Kristersson’s Moderate Party leads a center-right coalition that also includes the Liberals and the Christian Democrats. However, the coalition relies on the 73 deputies that the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats have in the legislative to maintain a majority, and unlike the center-right governing parties, the SD are opposed to Romania’s hopes to join Schengen.
“We are of the opinion that when it comes to expanding Schengen, we must start from our needs to control entry and exit, and ensure that we have all the tools needed in the fight against crime,” said SD legal policy spokesman Ardalan Shekarabi. “We do not make the assessment that it is in Sweden's interest in terms of internal security to do this,” he added.
Sweden’s current government has so far been favorable to Romania’s bid for Schengen membership. The last executive, led by Social Democrats, was against it. The same Social Democrats are now in opposition, despite being the largest party in the Swedish parliament.
“As far as Bulgaria and Romania are concerned, Sweden is currently experiencing extensive problems with citizens from these countries abusing the existing mobility directive, which challenges the public order in Sweden,” said SD member of the justice committee Adam Marttinen, cited by Dagens Nyheter.
The Sweden Democrats further motivate their opposition to Romania’s bid for Schengen membership by noting the “extensive corruption and lack of progress against organized crime” in Romania. They also stress their concern over the fact that, in the event that Romania joins Schengen, the area’s external border will be with Ukraine.
(Photo source: Jimmie Akesson on Facebook)