The Austrian President: Bulgaria is ready for Schengen

Politics | March 23, 2023, Thursday // 16:11
Bulgaria: The Austrian President: Bulgaria is ready for Schengen @Wikimedia Commons

"Romania and Bulgaria fulfill the criteria for joining Schengen. I am concerned about Austria's reputation in front of our European partners," Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen said in a conversation with the EU's permanent representative in Austria, Martin Selmayr. The conversation was reported by the Austrian "Kleine Zeitung", which has a recording of the meeting between the two.

Bad signal for business and workers

"Of course, we need to know who is entering the EU and Austria, who is seeking asylum. And of course, the EU must control its external borders," Van der Bellen said. But Sofia and Bucharest, according to him, meet the criteria.

"When established Austrian companies that successfully operate in Romania say that they are worried about the current Austrian policy, these voices should be taken seriously. It is about real orders, real turnover and real jobs. Both in Romania and here - in Austria. In this regard, I hope that a solution will be found soon to help calm the situation," believes the Austrian president.

According to him, blocking Schengen membership also sends a bad signal to caregivers from both countries. "When we say to these people, 'You are not welcome', this will lead to a development that will have negative consequences for people in need of care in Austria and their families."

Selmayr: Joining Schengen will increase security

Selmayr, for his part, says that the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area "will further increase security, because then the external border of these countries will be considered as a common border of the EU".

Selmayr recalled that the digital EU travel and authorization system ETIAS is expected to be fully operational in 2024. "Anyone who wants to enter the EU without a visa will have to fill out a form in advance - similar to the practice in the US."

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Tags: Schengen, Bulgaria, Austrian, Van der Bellen

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