Germany Vows Schengen Support for Bulgaria, RomaniaBulgaria in EU | October 5, 2011, Wednesday // 20:49| views
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (R) with his French counterpart Alain Juppe. Photo by EPA/BGNES
German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, stated Wednesday he was hoping Bulgaria and Romania will advance in their effort to join the Schengen zone, despite opposition of several EU Member States.
Westerwell has spoken after a meeting in Bucharest with his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Bakonski , saying for the media that Romania can count on German support for the annulment of the veto on Schengen, imposed by the Netherlands and Finland.
"The German cabinet is working on and is hoping for a successful new step towards a full-pledged membership in Schengen of both Romania and Bulgaria this year," the German Minister is quoted saying. He, however, had stressed on the need of "significant progress in the fight against corruption and organized crime," pointing out the lack of results there is the reason for The Hague and Helsinki to make the decision to block the two countries' Schengen entry.
Westerwelle explained that Berlin is trying to find a solution for the problem, which they will present during the next EU summit on October 17. He informed he had talks with his Dutch counterpart on the issue.
Bakonski had voiced dissatisfaction from the ongoing opposition, vowing "Romanians are Europeans, committed to all European rules."
At the end of September, the Netherlands and Finland vetoed the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the visa-free Schengen Area on the grounds to two newest EU members will not be able to safeguard the Union's external borders. Germany and France were the first two countries to oppose the Schengen membership of Bulgaria and Romania at the end of 2010. Their resistance was tamed by the proposal of the Polish EU presidency for a staged joining of the zone, which has been largely seen as compromise.
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