Parliament in the Netherlands votes in favour of Bulgaria’s admission to Schengen – report

Parliament in the Netherlands has voted in favour of Bulgaria being admitted to the Schengen visa zone, Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) said on December 22, a week after the Dutch government recommended the move.

A proposal tabled by the New Sociaal Contract group to endorse the stance previously announced by Austria, to admit only Bulgaria’s airports for now and its land and sea borders at some point later, failed to win the required number of votes – 76 – to be approved, though the vote was 59 in favour and 49 against.

The Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy), formerly led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, voted in favour of Bulgaria’s full membership of Schengen, the BNR report said.

The report said that Geert Wilders’ Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom) abstained from voting.

BNR reported diplomats as saying that because the proposal to admit Bulgaria only partially had been rejected, the outcome was that Bulgaria could get full membership of the Schengen zone.

On December 15, the government of the Netherlands informed the country’s Parliament of its support for the accession of Bulgaria to the Schengen visa zone.

Bulgaria is continuing negotiations with Austria, now the sole country not to have approved Bulgaria’s admission to Schengen.

Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said on December 22 that the decision by the Netherlands to give the green light for Bulgaria’s Schengen membership puts Bulgaria in a better position in the negotiations with Austria.

“Negotiations are ongoing and will end in a way that takes into account the concerns of Austria, because it has a serious problem with migration,” Denkov said.

Welcoming the decision, Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Maria Gabriel said: “Thanks also to Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his government, who tabled the proposal last week. I am convinced that this act is in the interest not only of us and our northern neighbour, but also of the entire EU”.

Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov said that he was optimistic that Austria would make a decision about Bulgaria’s Schengen membership “as soon as possible”.

(Photo: Markus Bernet, via Wikimedia Commons)

Please support The Sofia Globe by signing up to become a subscriber to our page on Patreon:

Become a Patron!

The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.