Bulgaria Not Fit for Schegen, German Minister Reiterates
Germany has growing concerns about the swift admission of Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen Area, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has restated.
In an interview for the German newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt, Friedrich has repeated his last week's statement that Bulgaria cannot be admitted into Schengen by the end of 2012.
His statement, which practically amounts to an outright German veto on Bulgaria's much desired accession to the borderless Schengen Area, has been met with confusion and denial by the Bulgarian leadership.
Bulgaria was originally supposed to become part of the Schengen Agreement back in March 2011 but its bid has been delayed indefinitely by the vetoes of the Netherlands and Finland (the Finnish veto was later lifted) which were founded on concerns over organized crime, corruption, and the failure of rule of law in Bulgaria.
In his new interview on the subject, Germany's Interior Minister Friedrich went as far as suggesting that even the "partial" admission of Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen Area – i.e. the opening of their air and sea borders, should be put off for some time.
In his words, it will be a long time before Bulgaria and Romania's land borders become internal Schengen borders, too.
In his last week's interview, the German minister backed a two-stage Schengen entry plan for the two countries, first by ports and airports, and then by land borders, voicing skepticism over the possibilities to launch the first phase in 2012.
Friedrich's statement clashed with the stance of European Council President Herman van Rompuy, who expressed moderate optimism that Bulgaria could join Schengen in September.
Friedrich also pointed out Germany has growing concerns over the domestic political situation in Romania where President Traian Basescu is still facing a possible impeachment after a referendum on that failed to generate sufficient turnout.
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