Finland: Romania's Schengen Hopes Depend on Bulgaria's March Assessment

Bulgaria in EU | February 8, 2011, Tuesday // 12:56|  views

Finland's Minister of Migration and European Affairs Astrid Thors. File photo

Romania's potential Schengen entry depends on Bulgaria's technical assessment, which is scheduled for March, Finland's Minister of Migration and European Affairs Astrid Thors.

Only once Bulgaria is assessed, an official decision will be taken on both Balkan neighbors, according to Astrid Thors. She expressed Finland's support for the two countries' Schengen accession, but only after a close scrutiny of all necessary aspects. Hungary, which currently holds the EU presidency, will have a crucial role in the subject, she stated.

Minister Thors visited Romania on Monday and Tuesday where she met with its Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi.

Baconchi himself said he expected a positive assessment of Bulgaria in March and declared he expected to receive a constructive decision on behalf of the European Cuncil by the end of the Hungarian Presidency.

Later on Tuesday, Astrid Thors will arrive in Bulgaria where she will confer with Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nickolay Mladenov.

At the end of January, Finland joined France and Germany, the Netherlands and Austria in opposing Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the Schengen zone following a decision to this effect of Finland's committee for European affairs.

France and Germany have repeatedly voiced their staunch opposition to a March 2011 entry of Bulgaria and Romania in the Schengen Area, saying their still sufficient problems with justice and law enforcement that could render Schengen entry impracticable for the time being.

Hungary may decide to put this issue on the agenda of the Council of Interior Ministers of the EU, due on February 24, but the decision will most probably be negative.

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Tags: assessment, Bulgaria, Romania, Schengen, accession, Astrid Thors, Teodor Baconschi


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