EU Interior Ministers Debate Free Borders with Bulgaria, Romania

Bulgaria in EU | June 9, 2011, Thursday // 12:16|  views

The interior ministers are expected to delay agreeing to bring in Bulgaria and Romania until September due to concerns over their ability to control their borders with non-EU neighbours. Photo by EPA/BGNES

European Union interior ministers are meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday and Friday to take a decision on Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the border-free Schengen area.

The meeting comes just a day after the non-binding vote of the European Parliament, which voted in favor of allowing Bulgarians and Romanians to travel across Europe without a passport.

The interior ministers however are expected to delay agreeing to bring in the two countries until September due to concerns over their ability to control their borders with non-EU neighbours.

Bulgaria and Romania are set to be told by their European Union partners that they still cannot join the border-free Schengen area despite having fulfilled the technical criteria for entry, diplomats told DPA on Wednesday.

On Thursday, EU interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg are set to acknowledge that Bulgaria and Romania's border controls have risen up to meet Schengen standards, but they will not set a date for their entry into the system, the report said.

Bulgaria and Romania, which have been coupled ever since their joint accession to the European Union in 2007, failed to enter the border-less zone in March this year, although claiming that all requirements for it had been met.

Bulgarian experts are unanimous that the country meets the technical requirements. The real problem rather seems to be the threat of information leakages and Greece's porous border with Turkey.

Analysts say the reluctance of France, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria to let the Balkan country join the Agreement in 2011 is both because of domestic politics and because they really believe the entry into Schengen will be premature, just as the EU entry.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Ministers, interior, European Union, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, France, Germany, rapporteur, border control, Carlos Coelho, Turkish - Bulgarian border, Bulgarian-Turkish border, Turkish border, Schengen Area, Schengen Accession, Schengen zone, Schengen Agreement, Schengen, Romania, MEPs, European parliament, EP, Bulgarian


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