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No to passport-free travel for Bulgaria, Romania
Photo: DPA

No to passport-free travel for Bulgaria, Romania

Published: 03 Mar 2013 18:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Mar 2013 18:25 GMT+01:00

Germany will veto Romania and Bulgaria joining the Schengen passport-free zone if the two countries push their membership at an EU meeting this week, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich warned on Sunday.

"If Romania and Bulgaria insist on the vote (at the meeting), the push will fail with a German veto," Friedrich said in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine.

The option of clearing just certain areas, such as entry by air or port, was also off the table, he said. EU justice and interior ministers are due to meet to discuss the issue on Thursday.

While the EU's last yearly report had noted progress by Romania and Bulgaria in their efforts to join Europe's 26-nation Schengen passport-free travel zone, Friedrich said both countries must act "more decidedly" against

corruption.

"The expansion of the Schengen zone is only accepted by our citizens if the basic requirements are ensured. That is currently not the case," he said.

The minister also called for stricter sanctions for anyone who tried to cheat a country's social security system by abusing the right to the free movement of people under the pact.

Any move to expand the Schengen area, home to 400 million Europeans who can cross borders without a passport, needs a unanimous vote, but the Netherlands has in the past staunchly opposed including Romania and Bulgaria.

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Saturday that his country's membership of Schengen was no longer a priority for his government if the issue was again pushed back at the EU ministers' meeting this week.

"The government has done everything it could so that the decision... is positive and I still have hopes for that," Ponta told the Mediafax agency.

AFP/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:21 March 3, 2013 by jg.
The Romanians won't be able to get here anyway - we've eaten their transport.
20:26 March 3, 2013 by raandy
Romania and Bulgaria have some work to do before they open the gate.
22:48 March 3, 2013 by ChrisRea
:) jg., that's a good one!

On a serious note, it is only cheap populism. Both CDU and SPD try to win votes by showing they "protect" the population against the Romanians and Bulgarians (actually they mean Gipsies from that countries, but then that does not sound correct), that will "invade" Germany. On Friday's talk show on this subject, ZDF presented ridiculous figures (for example, that there are 10 million Gypsies in Europe and that 90% of them are in Romania). For a moment, I thought Goebbels came back from the dead. But then I realised it is just plain ignorance.

Schengen can prevent only the coming of those Gypsies that are too stubborn to get a national ID. The ones that wanted to come to Germany are already here. So Romania and Bulgaria joining Schengen will not change a thing.

To speak about corruption when the SPD's candidate for chancellorship is paid commissions by the firms he had given governmental contracts only shows hypocrisy. In the last couple of years, (former) high governmental figures from all parties in Romania were prosecuted and, when found guilty of corruption, were thrown in jail, even if they were former prime ministers. So it actually might be that the justice system works better as in Germany when it comes to punishing corruption.

Voting against Romania and Bulgaria has little to do with securing borders. It is about generating fear and securing votes for the upcoming elections.
01:25 March 4, 2013 by adam.müller
They will be an other GRACE for EU, asking money every time. With an economy of only $50 and $264 respectively Bulgaria and Romania should wait for 20 years.

turkey has Economy of $ 1.3 trillions, bring turkey in EU. More money for EU.
08:17 March 4, 2013 by ChrisRea
@ adam.müller

Romania and Bulgaria are already in the EU since 2007. And I would not complain about their economies, as Romania is the 11th largest economy of EU (8th based on PPP) out of 27 economies and Bulgaria has a one of the stablest currency in the region. Also, quite important, with severe austerity measures, they managed to keep their public debt at levels of which Germany, UK and Co. could only dream of.
12:05 March 4, 2013 by Darra
Why is Schengen , or traveling without showing an ID important?

As far as I know, In Bulgaria and Romania, just like in Germany, a person is required to have his/her ID or passport all the time. So they have it. It's not like they need a visa.

Basically , Bulgarians and Romanians are allowed to go anywhere , as logn as they have an ID. Duh! Does anybody travel to another country without an ID?

Also, looking at the map, they can drive to Germany through Hungary. Does everybody stop at the Hungarian border to show his documents? Do they stop just the Bulgarians and Romanians based on the license plate registration of the vehicle? What happens if they travel with rented vehicles with a registration from another country?
12:59 March 4, 2013 by ChrisRea
@ Darra

You are mainly correct. There is no visa requirement for Romanians and Bulgarians, so we are not talking about capital issues here.

It is only about easing the formalities. Yes, everybody is required to stop at the Hungarian border to show documents, even if it is about a car with German numbers. And sometimes that could mean hours of waiting at the border.
13:26 March 4, 2013 by crm114
the reason that cheap populism is on the rise is because liberal elitists dismiss the genuine concerns of their populations. Romani Rose the representative of german Sinti and Roma himself stated lasted week that many german cities were overwhelmed by economic migration, they were never consulted by the EU accedence committees but are left to pick up the pieces. Mr Rose goes on to state that the people who are not already here will fall due to their lack of prospects immediately into criminality. He goes on to state that many of these people are long term social support dependents, perhaps you are willing to support this from your taxes I however am not

as are rising numbers of citizens, who are beginning to see through the smoke and mirrors.This view is supported by the substantial rise in east

european criminality reported by many uk police forces.
18:06 March 4, 2013 by Al uk
I love the term 'populism'. To me that means it's popular and what people also known as the electorate actually want.

Surely politicians are there to represent the views of the electorate. Not as the they do now and just disregard them.
18:47 March 4, 2013 by ChrisRea
Indeed, it is easy to mistake "populism" and "popular". Sadly, in this case the politicians fight against the interests of the people.
20:02 March 4, 2013 by Englishted
I don't remember being asked (given a vote ) on this or any other expansion ,so will all the parties in favour of expansion east and south please be good enough to say before a election so I don't waste my vote on them .
15:50 March 5, 2013 by flyintiger
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:03 March 6, 2013 by strahlungsamt
This makes no sense at all.

1. Nobody gets welfare the minute they first arrive in Germany. At least I didn't 5 years ago and I'm Irish and paid into the Irish (EU) welfare system.

2. The criminals are already there. There is no travel restriction within the EU and the borders are wide open anyway. Just sneak through the forest and you're through.

3. The losers here are the Romanians and Bulgarians who genuinely want to work and pay taxes. Isn't Germany short of workers at the moment?

4. As for not being ready, look at the screwed up economies of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia among others that the press doesn't want to talk about. Corruption is rife in those countries at levels that would give the CSU and FDP wet dreams. Hungary elected a neo-nazi government recently and the EU was just fine and dandy with that.
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