MOSCOW, January 9 (RIA Novosti) - The Netherlands is planning again to block the issue of Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the Schengen zone, which allows visa-free travel within the zone for citizens of member states, the Sofia news agency reported on Wednesday.
According to European Commission sources, as cited by local media, the topic of Schengen expansion may not be included on the agenda of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in March 2013.
The Netherlands believes that Bulgaria and Romania have made insufficient efforts to implement reforms.
Bulgaria and Romania expect at least a partial accession to Schengen in 2013 through the opening of air and maritime borders.
Although the two countries meet the technical criteria for Schengen membership, the Netherlands has blocked their bids over the lack of results in the fight against corruption and organized crime.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.