SCHENGEN ENLARGEMENT : EU EXEC: BUCHAREST HAS NO RIGHT TO QUIT VERIFICATION MECHANISM.

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The European Commission has played down the seriousness of Romania's threat to unilaterally withdraw from the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) to avoid a delay in joining the EU's visa-free Schengen area. Referring to Croatia's accession bid, it has also underlined that the creation of this special monitoring system for Romania and Bulgaria in December 2006 should not constitute a precedent for future enlargements.

The EU executive made it clear that procedurally Romania has no right to ditch the mechanism unilaterally. "Phasing out of the CVM would be based on the Commission's decision following the fulfilment of the four benchmarks that are all interlinked," said the Commission's spokesperson, on 4 January. The comment came after Romania's Foreign Minister, Teodor Baconschi, suggested that his country might consider withdrawing from the CVM, which, according to him, is being used by France and Germany as a tool to delay Romania's entry into the Schengen area planned for March 2011. "It would be...

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