Netherlands-Romanian Chamber of Commerce urges Authorities to allow Romania’s Access to Schengen

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The Netherlands-Romanian Chamber of Commerce (NRCC) strongly opposes the initiative of a Dutch right wing political party to launch a website creating a platform to complain about the behaviour of European citizens working and living in The Netherlands.

The website also encourages Dutch citizens to complain about Romanians, Poles and Bulgarians who have taken up jobs in The Netherlands which could have been granted to Dutch citizens.

“This initiative is a flagrant infringement of the most fundamental values of The European Union and in fact of any democratic value. The PVV is a marginal right wing populist party which has no consideration or respect for fellow Europeans and has as its core policy to create division and a climate of suspicion and hatred in the society” says Peter de Ruiter, chairman of the NRCC. “History has taught us that putting certain social, cultural groups from a specifically defined descent in such a negative context can lead to catastrophic actions and reactions.”

The NRCC sent today a letter to the Dutch Prime Minister Mr Mark Rutte urging him, on behalf of the Dutch Government and the Dutch people he represents, to firmly take distance from the actions of his fellow ‘coalition party’ and initiate legal actions to oppose, speak out against the xenophobia and the destruction of the significant and important steps made in respect of a European peaceful cooperation and integration.

Over the past 21 years Romania and The Netherlands have built up very strong ties in economic and cultural fields. The bilateral interactions are impressive and both countries have benefited from this considerably.

The comments made by Mr Sebastian Bodu and a group of Euro-parliamentarians recently to boycott Dutch products, though understandable, represent a wrong reaction. The actions and opinions of the PVV should not be understood as an expression of the general public opinion of The Netherlands. The NRCC knows from its day to day interactions with Romanian and Dutch business people and from its intense interactions with Romanian and Dutch public authorities that there is strong mutual appreciation and eagerness to work together. In this context a boycott cannot be justified and we ask Mr Bodu to reconsider his appeal.

The NRCC salutes the conclusions of the recent interim report released by the European Commission on the progresses made by Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism. In the same time, NRCC urges the Dutch authorities to approve as soon as possible Romania’s bid to join the Schengen area.

“The conclusions of the EC report state that Romania has made substantial progress on all the areas under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism. At the same time, the officials of the European Commission made it very clear that no connection should be made between Romania’s bid to join the Schengen zone and Romania’s developments in the field of judicial and internal affairs. We are therefore asking the Dutch Government to change its’ singular stance on the issue of Romanian accession to the Schengen area”, stated Peter de Ruiter, President, NRCC.

The ongoing political situation and development in the Netherlands is of our highest concern. We see a fast growing tendency of “it is better not to do business with the Netherlands”, said Robin Martens, vice President NRCC. “The worrying factor is that this statement is coming also from business friends from other countries. The Netherlands is isolating itself. As more than 75% of our economy is dependent on export, this is an alarming fact, especially as this means that millions of jobs in the Netherlands are at stake.”

“Here in Romania we see the concrete effects of the Dutch political stance. We are at high risk to loose business worth over € 2 billion with even higher consequential damage for the businesses, and thus jobs, in the Netherlands”, said Richard Reese, Executive Director of NRCC.

“The Netherlands have prospered because of international trade, because we are an open economy. This should remain the key target. If we do not continuously pursue that goal then our wealth will quickly perish”, added Reese.

The Netherlands-Romanian Chamber of Commerce is constantly engaged in dialogue with both Dutch and Romanian authorities on the issue of Schengen area membership and NRCCs officials have repeatedly stated their support for Romania in this endeavour, including in interviews with the main Dutch newspapers.

“We believe it is time for the Government in The Hague to act now on the issue of Romania’s membership in Schengen and not to postpone the decision until the next EC report under the CVM in June. We invite all Dutch politicians to visit Romania such that they can see that the reality of Romania is very positive and much different than the popular belief that seems to reside these days in the Netherlands”, added Peter de Ruiter

The Netherlands are the largest investor in Romania, with Dutch companies very well represented in such areas as the financial sector, agriculture, food and beverages, transport and logistics and industrial production.

Yet, the Netherlands-Romanian Chamber of Commerce sees lots of potential and development opportunities in areas in which The Netherlands has a long history and strong capability, like water management, energy, agriculture and logistics. In order to facilitate investments in these areas, Schengen accession is crucial, according to the NRCC.

Source: The Netherlands-Romanian Chamber of Commerce

This article is also available in: Romanian

This post is also available in: Romanian

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