Hungarian EU Presidency: No Way to Decouple Bulgaria, Romania for Schengen
Romania is closer to meeting the technical requirements for accession to the Schengen Area, according to Sandor Pinter, the Interior Minister of Hungary, which holds the rotating EU Presidency.
Speaking before journalists, Pinter has reiterated the conclusions of reports of the Brussels working group on Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen preparedness.
"There are still technical problems on part of Bulgaria," Pinter said ruling out any possibility that Bulgaria and Romania could be decoupled for the purposes of their accession to the borderless Schengen zone.
With respect to the demands of France and Germany that the Schengen entry of the two Balkan countries be tied with their progress under the post-EU accession monitoring exercised by European Commission, Sandor stated that there must be an inspection to find out is similar additional prerequisites for joining Schengen were demanded from other countries in the past.
French and German criticism seems to be viewing Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen readiness in a wider context, including with respect to their progress on fighting corruption and instituting judicial reform. The EC has stated several times that the monitoring under the Verification and Cooperation Mechanism is not technically related to the Schengen requirements.
Pinter's statements have come after on Friday, experts from the Brussels working group on Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen accession concluded that both countries – but especially Bulgaria – have not met yet the technical requirements to join the borderless Schengen Area.
The report has come on top of criticism and opposition by major EU powers such as France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands, to Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen accession, which was originally expected to take place in March 2011.
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