Netherlands' Potential Foreign Minister Opposed to Bulgaria's Schengen Entry by Land

The potential new foreign minister of the Netherlands, Caspar Veldkamp, who was previously against Bulgaria's entry into the Schengen Zone by land, is likely to assume office, according to sources in The Hague reported by Bulgarian media "Club Z". Veldkamp belongs to the center-right New Social Contract (NSC) party, established in August 2023, and will serve in the newly formed right-wing Dutch government, dominated by Geert Wilders' far-right Party of Freedom (PVV).

While Veldkamp is set to become foreign minister, the prime ministerial role will be filled by former intelligence chief Dick Schoof, who is not affiliated with any political party. The Netherlands had historically opposed Bulgaria's entry into the Schengen Zone, but in December 2023, Mark Rutte's government decided to lift the veto, subject to approval by the parliament.

Notably, Veldkamp had previously proposed allowing Bulgaria into Schengen only by air and sea, in line with Austria's stance, but the resolution failed to secure an absolute majority. Despite the opposition of Wilders' party, Bulgaria was eventually admitted to Schengen by air and sea only, as Austria remained firm in its position against land entry.

The Belgian Presidency of the EU expressed hope that Bulgaria and Romania would join Schengen by land by the end of the year, contingent upon unanimous approval among member countries. However, a "small group of countries" reportedly continue to oppose Bulgaria's land entry into Schengen, although specific nations were not mentioned.

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