Austria Holds Firm Against Bulgaria and Romania's Full Schengen Membership

World » EU | February 27, 2024, Tuesday // 14:12
Bulgaria: Austria Holds Firm Against Bulgaria and Romania's Full Schengen Membership

Austria's Minister of the Interior, Gerhard Karner, has reiterated his steadfast opposition to the full admission of Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen area, particularly via land borders. Karner emphasized the importance of adhering to the agreed-upon entry terms for Bulgaria and Romania, which currently only allow for air and sea access.

"For me, it is now important that we comply with the agreed entry of Bulgaria and Romania by air and sea," stated Karner, noting that this compromise was reached after rigorous negotiations and with clear conditions for future progress. Among Austria's stipulations are the repatriation of registered refugees currently in Austria by both countries and ensuring security at the EU's external borders, including the deployment of additional officers from the Frontex border agency.

Austrian media outlets have remarked on the increasing pressure facing Austria to reconsider its veto against expanding the Schengen area to include land borders. Early in February, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed optimism about the possibility of Austria relenting on this issue.

"Bulgaria and Romania can count on us," assured Von der Leyen at the time.

Despite these assurances, Austria's position remains unchanged, signaling continued resistance to Bulgaria and Romania's full integration into the Schengen area via land borders.

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Tags: Austria, Schengen, Bulgaria, Romania

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