EC President: Bulgaria, Romania Will Not Join Schengen in Jan 2014
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said that Bulgaria and Romania will not join Europe's passport-free Schengen area in January 2014.
In a Monday interview for French TV station TF1, Barroso, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA), claimed that the issue of Schengen expansion intermingled with immigration issues, Lampedusa, foreign workers, adding that the dangerous mix had to be dealt with carefully in order to avoid giving a boost to extremist movements which would propel Europe in a dangerous direction.
He claimed that Europe had in its history bad examples of such acts of xenophobia and chauvinism,
Barroso specified that Bulgaria and Romania were outside the Schengen area, despite the fact that the countries fulfilled the technical criteria, due to the opposition by some EU member states and the lack of the necessary unanimity among the members of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA).
Barroso's interview for the French TV station contradicts other statements of his, the most recent one made in September, when he said that Bulgaria and Romania fulfilled the criteria for Schengen accession, dnevnik.bg informs.
"Bulgaria and Romania fulfill the requirements for Schengen accession and I believe that it will be fair to give them a chance as soon as possible," Barroso said in September in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).
He also emphasized that EU membership had helped Bulgaria speed up a number of important reforms and opposed the creation of "first and second class EU membership."
Regarding access to labor markets, Barroso claimed that free movement was a founding principle of the EU and could not be questioned.
As of January 1, 2014, under EU law and the EU accession treaties of Bulgaria and Romania, all labor market restrictions for the citizens of the two countries are to be lifted.
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