Dutch government "held captive" by far right: Romanian minister

19th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch government is "held captive" by a far-right party, Romania's foreign minister said Monday, after the Netherlands rejected bids by Romania and Bulgaria to enter Europe's visa-free Schengen zone.

"France and Germany have become more flexible, they have proposed us a two-step entry scenario," Teodor Baconschi told journalists.

But the two countries have "failed to convince the Dutch government which is in a certain way held captive by the anti-European and anti-immigration political agenda of an extremist party," he added.

The Dutch centre-right government rules with the backing of Geert Wilders' far-right Freedom Party (PVV).

"However, it seems that the political benefits of such an anti-European attitude did not help very much in the Danish poll," Baconschi stressed, referring to Friday's general election which saw the populist anti-immigration Danish People's Party pushed into opposition.

The Dutch government last week said it would oppose bids by Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen zone when EU ministers meet Thursday.

A European diplomatic source said the Polish EU presidency proposed a compromise, two-step solution that would see air and sea borders open by the end of October.

But a decision on giving the two countries dates on the land borders, "which are more controversial," would only be taken "in the next year," said the source in Brussels.

The Netherlands government, however, stressed it would "not even approve the partial entry."

"When Europe as a whole is favourable to our entry and one state says no, there is certainly a blockage, but I hope it will be surmounted," Baconschi said.

The Dutch minority government enjoys parliamentary backing from the PVV, in exchange for which the Eurosceptic party was promised a larger say in policy making.

© 2011 AFP

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