Romania has branded a Franco-German move to block its membership of the EU’s border-free travel zone as discrimination.
Paris and Berlin told the European Commission they would veto it, arguing Bucharest had not done enough to tackle crime and corruption.
Their actions drew an angry response from Romanian President Traian Basescu.
“I consider that the letter of the two ministers is a discriminatory act against Romania. We will not accept discrimination from anybody, even from the EU’s most powerful states,” Basescu told reporters.
France and Germany also denied Bulgarians the chance to enjoy passport-free travel in Europe.
Romania and Bulgaria, already part of the EU, had been set to join the so-called Schengen Zone next March.
Twenty-five European countries are members, including non-EU states Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.
New admissions need the approval of all 25 nations. Britain and Ireland, although EU members, have opted out of the ‘borderless’ area.