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România Liberâ - Romania | Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Schengen row boosts Romania's populists

After German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich threatened to veto Romania's and Bulgaria's potential accession to the Schengen zone, the Romanian Interior Minister Radu Stroe said on Monday that Friedrich should have kept quiet. The dispute is fuelling Eurosceptic populism in the country, the daily România Liberă warns: "In a country where dissatisfaction with Europe is growing, it is difficult to explain that Romania needs to build up trust and what the long-term advantages of joining the Schengen zone are. In a country like this it's easy to keep the discussion at such a low level that even [head of state] Traian Băsescu is accused of not having used his good relations with Angela Merkel to convince Germany to support the accession. No matter how base the discussion becomes, there will always be a naive audience for it here in Romania. As thoroughgoing and skilled populists, the leaders of the [ruling left-liberal alliance] USL know exactly how the people tick. The populists are rebelling against major EU countries and want to gain support among the people for this."

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