Dutch PM to visit troops stationed in Romania

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will travel to Romania next week to visit his country’s troops stationed here, Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis said.

“Prime Minister Rutte will visit Dutch troops stationed in Cincu, a military base,” the president said on Friday before attending the informal meeting of the European Council in Prague.

The Netherlands is believed to have almost 300 troops stationed in Cincu, central Romania. They are part of a French-led NATO combat group in Romania that was set up in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which borders Romania.

In his Friday statement, President Iohannis brought up Romania’s longstanding bid to join the Schengen area, saying that the country has met all the technical conditions since 2011.

The Netherlands have constantly opposed Romanian joining Schengen, citing concerns about corruption.

“Schengen is neither about resources nor about other things. It is about technical criteria that must be met, especially on border control, migration control, and so on. Since 2011, we have met all the technical conditions,” he said.

“The Schengen format allows the free movement of people, and I think this is also important for Romanians to consider themselves Europeans with full rights,” he added.

President Iohannis said European security and the control of the movement of people coming from outside the bloc would get a boost if Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia were members of the passport-free zone.

The European Parliament debated Romania’s possible membership to the Schengen area this week with a majority of lawmakers backing the motion.

Interior Minister Lucian Bode said this Romania could get the green light after a vote in the European Parliament’s Justice and Home Affairs Council in early December.

U.S. to send 5,000 additional troops to Romania as NATO strengthens defenses against Russia threat


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