Bulgaria: Dutch PM visit "inconvenient"

31st October 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Bulgarian government has cancelled an official visit by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the last possible moment. A spokesperson for the Bulgarian foreign ministry said that the visit was "inconvenient" because of “a very difficult debate on the Bulgarian budget.”

The Dutch government information service RVD says the cancelled visit was also highly inconvenient for the prime minister because of his extremely busy schedule. As the visit was to have been part of a combined trip to Bulgaria and Romania, his visit to the latter country has also been postponed.

The Bulgarian cancellation comes at a time of growing tensions between the countries as a result of a Dutch veto against a proposal to allow Romania and Bulgaria to join the passport-free Schengen zone. Only Finland supported the Dutch veto, all other countries are in favour of expanding the Schengen zone.

The Romanian and Bulgarian prime ministers reportedly wanted an explanation from the Dutch prime minister at last weekend’s EU summit, but the meeting did not take place. The Dutch government argues that the two countries are technically ready to join Schengen but are still plagued by endemic corruption.

However, the RVD claims the Dutch-Bulgarian tensions are not the reason Mr Rutte’s trip was cancelled.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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