Vienna's Schengen Surprise: Bargain Deals on the Table for Bulgaria, Romania!

World » EU | December 10, 2023, Sunday // 11:55
Bulgaria: Vienna's Schengen Surprise: Bargain Deals on the Table for Bulgaria, Romania!

The Austrian media reports that the Minister of the Interior of Austria, Gerhard Karner, is ready to loosen the veto on the expansion of the Schengen area with Bulgaria and Romania. The announcement, published in the Sunday edition of the Kurier newspaper and the Saturday evening electronic edition of the Kleine Zeitung newspaper, cited by the Austrian news agency APA, said that according to reports received from government circles, the borders could be lifted , at least for air traffic. The land borders will retain their current status, with Bulgaria and Romania officially not being Schengen members.

One of the conditions for this will be stricter border control, notes BTA. On Monday, Minister Gerhard Karner will travel to Slovenia to discuss in a meeting with representatives of these countries the conditions that must be met for Austria to agree to the so-called "air Schengen". The consultations are due to take place on Tuesday within the framework of the "Salzburg Forum" in Brdo near Kranj, a small town located northwest of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

"Kurier" cites the following conditions proposed by Austria: a threefold increase of the Frontex mission in Bulgaria, with the funds for the border protection infrastructure to be provided by the European Commission; strengthened border control between Bulgaria and Romania and between Hungary and Romania; sending Austrian advisers on documents matters to work with the airport teams in Bucharest and Sofia; reception of asylum seekers, in particular Afghans and Syrians, from Romania and Bulgaria.

On Saturday night, the electronic edition of the Kronen newspaper also reported on Karner's plan. The plan will not be problematic from a legal point of view, European law expert Walter Obwexer from the University of Innsbruck told the newspaper. The increase in Frontex numbers is now a done deal, the reception of asylum seekers is compatible with EU law - and: "The Schengen Borders Code allows for the gradual abolition of checks on persons at internal borders. For example at airports."

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Tags: EU, Austria, Bulgaria, Schengen

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