Austria said on Thursday it would veto EU members Romania and Bulgaria joining the passport-free Schengen area, further escalating tensions after the Netherlands said it would reject Bulgaria’s accession.
Austria’s interior minister Gerhard Karner said he would oppose Romanian and Bulgarian membership because, he said, ‘it is wrong that a system that does not work in many places should be enlarged,’ news agency AFP reported.
The Netherlands said last week it would reject Bulgaria’s application to join the block because of corruption issues which still need to be solved. The vote must be unanimous.
EU home affairs ministers met on Thursday and approved Croatia’s membership of the block. The Schengen area is made up of 22 of the 27 EU countries plus Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
‘The Netherlands and Austria are trying to overcome their internal problems through the position they take on Bulgaria, but it should be clearly noted that this is not the European position. Our response will be reciprocal to what we receive,’ Bulgaria’s interim home affairs minister Ivan Demerdzhiev told Euronews Bulgaria on Tuesday.
The European Union’s migration and asylum commissioner Margaritis Schinas told the AD in an interview on Thursday that there is ‘no objective reason’ to refuse access to Bulgaria.
‘Romania and Bulgaria have done everything we asked of them and more,’ he said. ‘These countries are better prepared than some Schengen lands.’
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