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Berlin blocks Bulgaria, Romania from Schengen

The Local · 21 Dec 2010, 17:49

Published: 21 Dec 2010 17:49 GMT+01:00

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French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux and German counterpart Thomas de Maiziere told European home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem in a letter that it was "premature" to let them enter the passport-free travel area in March 2011.

The ministers said a decision on the applications would be made once the two former communist bloc nations make "irreversible progress" in the fight against corruption and organised crime, according a copy of the letter seen by news agency AFP.

Romanian President Traian Basescu slammed the Franco-German move as "an act of discrimination."

Bulgarian officials said they would do their utmost to ease any doubts about their readiness to join.

The Schengen area allows more than 400 million citizens to travel across a territory that ranges from Greece to Finland, and Portugal to Poland, without having to pull out a passport.

The area includes 22 of the European Union's 27 members plus Iceland, Switzerland and Norway.

Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. By choice, EU members Britain and Ireland have not joined the travel zone while Cyprus has applied to enter Schengen.

Experts from EU states who visited Romania and Bulgaria will present a report in January that will be used by governments to make a decision.

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Allowing a country to join Schengen must be agreed by members states by unanimity, meaning that France and Germany have veto power over the applications.

The decision to block the entry of Romania and Bulgaria follows a summer row over France's deportation of Roma migrants from the two eastern European nations, although the issue was not cited as a reason for the Schengen veto.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:09 December 21, 2010 by DinhoPilot
Tough look people! But we live in difficult times and there isn't anything like an United States of Europe in here. It's important that this two countries tackle corruption and povertry, all EU money goes wasted in mafias and you see them driving highly expensive cars (Enzos, Carreras, Ford GTs, etc...) when most of the people cannot even afford to have a decent meal (I was there I saw it).
18:40 December 21, 2010 by alinabi
Well, this was to be expected. After all, collective punishment has a long and distinguished history in Germany.
19:53 December 21, 2010 by auniquecorn
Way to go, germany and france, Kick them out of your country, then throw away the key.
20:01 December 21, 2010 by iv_st2

France did it last summer, but not going to "the end".

Ask yourself why french interior minister went to his german counterpart.
20:32 December 21, 2010 by mobiusro
What did everybody expect lol? After kicking the gypsies out of France and giving them money to leave, they would not be stupid enough to allow them to come back without even so much as a look in the passport :).

I for one, as a Romanian, never had any problems in the EU while travelling. Those who do, should probably not be allowed to do so in the first place.
21:00 December 21, 2010 by alinabi

Corruption is undeniably a serious problem in both Romania and Bulgaria, but it is on par with Greece and Italy, both of which are in the Schengen zone. This move has nothing to do with corruption and everything to do with the French and the Germans getting fed up with having their vacations and morning commutes "disrupted" by a small but very loud and visible minority (gypsy). Of course, collectively punishing 30+ million people for the antics of a small minority will make great strides towards the integration of said minority in their home countries. God job.
00:02 December 22, 2010 by Johnne
:-)) this is what we call first class discrimination!! God help the Bulgarians & Romanians.. who says money can´t buy you schengen?? sorry romas! that´s it!
01:34 December 22, 2010 by ct1234
Ah, nothing like the good ole' hate ... great job, Germany, resurrecting your WW II antics with the gypsies. Now you've grown up - can punish an entire host country for just one minority! I propose you ask all Romanians to wear David stars while travelling through Germany, that would be a nice touch.

As for France, what can I say? I should not say anything. It's a dead, irrelevant civilization headed by a Tartarin de Tarascon Hungarian. Ah, Hungarian, other friends of Romanians! Horty was a good friend of Gypsies too, no?
06:20 December 22, 2010 by iv_st2
Thanks EU.

"The Byzantine-Bulgarian victory of 718 ... stopped the Muslim invasion in the interior of Europe. Khan Tervel was called the Saviour of Europe by his contemporaries."

Taken form here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tervel_of_Bulgaria
08:12 December 22, 2010 by storymann
Smart move,
08:40 December 22, 2010 by jamano
What happened to gypsy integration within EU? Oh, it should be carried out in Romania only. Well done, France.
09:04 December 22, 2010 by davenpt
Worried about Bulgaria and Romania's mafia? Allow the Russians in to the zone and you will see real mafia + a host of women who work night jobs.
10:20 December 22, 2010 by Johnne
I thank people like ct1234 & davenpt, thank God there are still some smart, open-eyed people with good knowledge of how things are run by some corrupt, racist,visionless interior ministers of the so-called "mighty two" of the EU.
11:13 December 22, 2010 by raandy
I do not believe the move by Germany and France is racist,these two countries have serious corruption and crime problems,they were taken into the EU with the understanding that they would have to meet higher civil standards to deter crime and corruption and they agreed to this.They have not met these.I do not believe you open the gates until they do.
16:49 December 22, 2010 by alinabi

Nonsense. As I said before, widespread, high level corruption has precedent in the Schengen zone (Greece and Italy). Moreover, corruption abatement and the reform of the justice systems both fall under the scope of the Monitoring Programme, and were not preconditions for joining the Schengen zone. This move is reminiscent of the attempts to block Estonia from joining the Euro zone by imposing new requirements, some of which were not even met by most countries currently in the Euro zone. I think that creating this sort of moving targets for Romania and Bulgaria will have an opposite effect than what the politicians in Paris and Berlin hope for, that is it will slow down the pace of reform, rather than speed it up.

As for opening the gates to the Romanian and Bulgarian "barbarian hordes", that has already happened. They can already travel visa-free throughout the EU, so the gypsies will still be playing bad harmonica music in the Paris subway in 2011. The only thing the Schengen ascension would have done is simplify the life of tens of thousands of Romanians and Hungarians who live on one side of the border and work on the other side.
13:46 December 23, 2010 by bjdoc425
I live in Bulgaria in the summers. I survive the rudeness of the Serbian Border Guards, and being awakened at night as I cross their borders. I experienced improvement in law enforcement, as Bulgaria has apprehended a young man who robbed me. I have grown to love a small group of Roma Citizens of Provardia, as they work to improve the well-being and education of their children. Several children surrounded my car to welcome me back in the village. And I don't give them candy, but self-respect and love.

I see the ever present evidence of big black cars, and fat drivers, taking advantage of their mafia power. This needs to be changed.

But I feel safer there than big American cities. So keep the borders open, and treat all people equally. I find it still better than Russia.
14:32 December 23, 2010 by tallady
alinabi Just what the Euro Zone needs ,,more problems..
15:29 December 23, 2010 by storymann
alinabi...I find it hard to believe that crime rates between Italy and Greece are on par with Romania and Bulgaria per cap when there are no viable or reliable stats from these two countries. however I do believe that concerns are real,as stated in this c/p

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Germany and France have urged the European Union to delay bringing Romania and Bulgaria into the bloc's borderless travel zone, due to concerns about their ability to combat corruption and crime.

I would not discount raandys statement as" nonsense" seems to be more sense in being cautious and prudent as I believe Germany and France are especially when they will be paying the lions share to bail them out in a few years if not sooner.
17:11 December 23, 2010 by deutschamer
@ ct1234

Don't forget the Romanians are not so innocent. They massacred the Odessa Jews. Of course they are in denial of this. The Germans are the only ones that did anything wrong during WWII. ya right.
18:45 December 23, 2010 by Astalus Mihail
Good evening ! I m from Romania I see everyday the life going in the same way from 20years . Coruption, people who get esential jobs (medical ; political) just because they have someone UP There . I m disgusted about everything wich relate with my country. Lots of Gypsy who goes in France, Germany and all over Europe just for stilling, and came back with lots of money to buy expensive cars and make little's criminal organisation . Well done I m glad that France and Germany take this decision . If any Romanian want to go and work in Germany and France , should know german or french language and also have experience in one field at leest 2years . Well done we should respect any person who work and do his best for a better life(like Germany and French people do) , I m sorry to say this but Romania is in this moment THE BIGGEST SHAME OF EUROPE . Doctors with lots of experience who have 200 or 400 e salaryes ; thieves who lives very GOOD LIVES because they still from other people . Today one electrician try to kill himself because of hard life . i repeat YOU TAKE THE BEST DECISION FOR YOUR COUNTRYES AND FOR EUROPE .
20:25 December 24, 2010 by Eastard
Always look to see why someone would do this before you criticize... Germany does not see these immigrants as contributing, capable of contributing, interested in contributing to the welfare of Europe. Germany would not put a barrier to a partner but SHOULD put a barrier to those looking for some free ride... Keep in mind that people from any country are not all the same...however when a country lets/encourages their citizens to go elsewhere... the perception becomes a reality....dumping... Look at Hatti, Cuba, Northern Africa, Russia, and China. Germany should be allowed to control their borders any way they want... The EU agreements were not social support agreements. Send workers as good citizens and see what happens... France did what they are known for... deny the obvious until too it was late... They played the liberal game well into defeat before dealing with the citizen dump upon their already fragile economy....
17:18 January 7, 2011 by tavy
@Astalus Mihail

You think like that's just because you didn't like to study. Intelectual work pays off in Romania, as in any other country. Having a smaller salary is compensated by two important factors: lower prices and taxes and the advantage of a much lower criminality. I haven't seen anywhere in Romania people shooting each-other on the street and any of the violent crimes that take place in southern Italy, southern and central Belgium, Greece, southern and central UK, areas from the Netherlands etc.

About the topic, blocking Romania and Bulgaria from entering the Schengen will only have negative aspects on the trade and economy. Unfortunately, these are the biggest advantages of being in the European Union. Romanians and Bulgarians will still have the right of free movement for travel or work (even though the former aspect is regulated by every country separately).


Germany and the entire western Europe desperately needs a young workforce and people to fill in the sectors that the local population cannot. Try to imagine, as an example, a "pure race" germany without any "immigrants" to fill in the jobs in Engineering (especially Telecommunications) , Medicine, Tourism etc.

On the other side, I think that blocking Romania and Bulgaria from entering the Schengen zone will have the advantage of slowing down the spread of the mafia structures that already exist in European Union to more corruption-prone countries, as Romania and Bulgaria themselves do not pose a danger to the European Union.
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