Romania blames Hungary for Schengen deficitReading Time: 2 minutes
Romanian lorry drivers urged their government to “relentlessly lobby” for the country to join the Schengen zone on Monday, asserting that preventing lengthy delays at its border with Hungary would increase freight volumes by around 20%.
On Monday, Europa 2002 Haulier Employers’ Association chairman Adrian Pop echoed the sentiments of the MEPs, adding that “in all these years that Romania’s accession to Schengen has been postponed, freight haulage companies have lost between 18-22% of their turnover.”
Based in Arad near the Hungarian border, APTE 2002 is the largest organisation of freight haulers in western Romania, and represents around 2,200 companies with more than 15,000 lorries.
Pop blamed Hungary for the problems, saying its neighbour “artificially creates crises” when entering Romania “by not allocating enough border check staff”.
Queuing at the border for up to 12 hours at the Schengen border make Romanian haulage companies uncompetitive compared to their European peers, he added.
Created in 1985, the Schengen zone now groups 26 European countries that have abolished their internal borders to allow the free and unrestricted movement of people.
For over a decade Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries Bulgaria and Romania have been candidates to join the Schengen zone.
Another obstacle in the way of the free flow of Romanian lorries has been the Netherlands’ long-standing opposition to both Bulgarian and Romanian integration in the Schengen area.
Last week a huge majority of MEPs called for countries to join the area by the end of the 2022. They wrote in a non-legally-binding that the European Parliament “is dismayed that … the Council has failed to take a decision”.
MPs in the Netherlands quickly responded by adopting a resolution that Prime Minister Mark Rutte veto the Bulgarian and Romanian applications for now, as corruption and organised crime represent “a risk to the security of the Netherlands and the entire Schengen Area”.
Adrian Pop said “I don’t want to comment on foreign policy, but lobbying must not be abandoned for a moment in order to remove the last reservations from countries like the Netherlands.”
One haulier told the Romanian state news agency that “sometimes you have to queue for 10-12 hours, and that means wasted driving. In Romania, more than 66,000 lorries are shipping to the European Community”, the haulier added.