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Germany stands by Schengen veto

The Local · 20 Jan 2011, 16:34

Published: 20 Jan 2011 16:34 GMT+01:00

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Bucharest and Sofia "have both made huge efforts to meet the technical requirements of the Schengen system. Those efforts are deserving of praise," German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said on the sidelines of a meeting of EU interior and justice ministers in Hungary.

"At the same time, there are shortcomings and criticisms about the judiciary and about corruption" in the two countries, de Maiziere said. "We believe it is important to link the two issues - the technical aspects and the political aspects - and make a decision taking both into consideration," he said, insisting it would be "premature" for Bulgaria and Romania to join Schengen at the present juncture.

The two most recent EU members have declared Schengen accession a national priority this year, but they look set to fail in their membership bids in March in view of the objections of more than a dozen EU governments.

"Romania is ready to join in March but we are realistic and we know we have to wait and see what other member states are saying," Romanian Interior Minister Traian Igas stressed after discussions with his counterparts.

"But we did fulfil the criteria put forward by member states," he insisted, while ruling out the possibility of joining the borderless Schengen zone without Bulgaria. "It is for the first time I hear (an idea) like this. Romania has been a partner of Bulgaria on this road," Igas said.

While current EU president Hungary supports both membership bids, Interior Minister Sandor Pinter noted Wednesday that Romania appeared better prepared than neighbouring Bulgaria.

The Schengen zone allows more than 400 million citizens of 25 member countries to move freely without border controls from Finland to Greece and from Portugal to Poland.

The inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania would extend the zone's frontiers eastward, and France and Germany have made their membership conditional on "irreversible progress" in the fight against corruption.

Story continues below…

Romanian President Traian Basescu insisted Thursday that there was no indication of a heightened risk of illegal immigration into the European Union if his country joined Schengen.

Speaking to ambassadors accredited to Bucharest, he again demanded that Romania's admission be based entirely on its technical ability to control its more than 2,000-kilometre (1,250 mile) borders, notably with non-EU countries Ukraine and Moldova.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:49 January 20, 2011 by teutonic-knight
I think they are doing the right job. To make the Schengen zone strong. They must tell other European countries, if you want to be part of it, then you must be strong and stable enough so you can help the European union and Schengen zone. More countries joining Schengen does not always means stronger power. Actually if a weak and ustable country joins, it can hinder the progress of other stronger countries.
18:24 January 20, 2011 by tallady
No surprise ,prudent decision.
18:37 January 20, 2011 by Bushdiver
Why not. Open the boarders to everyone. The increased traffic from the other Eastern Europeon countries isn't enough. We are already fighting these East block countries that have made there way here and are taking jobs away from the west by undercutting the wage price. One day Germany's traffic will come to a halt and more and more jobs will be lost by not being able to compete with eastern pricing.
19:02 January 20, 2011 by mixxim
It is common knowledge that many former Yugoslav nationals can buy Rumanian passports. I doubt that it would be difficult for Russians. However I have also seen examples of Russians getting German passports through unverified accounts of german ancestry.
19:42 January 20, 2011 by Diebesbeute
On that note. Does anyone know why Ireland is not part of Schengen?
21:04 January 20, 2011 by teutonic-knight
Ireland is probably not part of Schengen, because in order to be part of the Schengen zone, you have to have a certain economy and fulfill certain requrements. I think the Irish rather be part of the British. The reason Irish is not part of Schengen is the same reason Overall British are not part of Schengen zone.
22:04 January 20, 2011 by catjones
Given the persistent bribes in Germany, including the highest fine ever paid (SAP) you gotta wonder if Germany would let Germany in.
23:22 January 20, 2011 by omjoi
absolutely against my interest:if germany wants to keep away the corrupted countries why doesn't speak against italy and its porno-corrupted government?
12:02 January 22, 2011 by surj
#4 mixxim,"It is a common knowledge that many former Yugoslav nations can buy Romanian passports..." You are 100% right, Same way if we let Turkey in EU ,the muslims from Islamic/muslim countries would also get the Turkish passports through bribing,and they would have a free access to EU. And down the decades ,EU will become Islamic. EU Must put stop any country becoming members of EU. House is FULL.to . see www.thereligionofpeace.com
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