Thursday, November 17, 2011

Romania May Join Schengen in Two Steps Next Year, Basescu Says

Romania may join the European Union’s passport-free travel system in two steps next year pending Dutch approval, President Traian Basescu said today in an interview with public radio.

The 25-nation Schengen Area, named for the Luxembourg town in which the accord was signed, may open its marine and air borders to Romania in March and land borders in June or July, Basescu said. Before that, the Balkan nation must reach an agreement with the Netherlands, which has opposed its entry because of corruption concerns, Basescu said.

“A new delay in our entry is possible because we can’t intervene in the Netherlands’ internal affairs and we cannot vote in their parliament,” Basescu said. “We hope we’ll find a solution like we did with Finland.”

Romania and neighboring Bulgaria have been striving to enter the Schengen zone this year after the European Commission said they met all the technical criteria. Finland and the Netherlands opposed entry, saying corruption in the newest EU members, which joined in 2007, may jeopardize the security of the entire area, which stretches from the border of Russia to Portugalon the Atlantic seaboard.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at

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