Scholz confirmed the Support for the Accession of Bulgaria and Romania to SchengenEU | August 18, 2023, Friday // 18:07| views
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
A year and a half after taking office, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made his first bilateral visit to Austria.
Scholz was received by Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer in Salzburg. During the meeting, Nehammer and Scholz discussed the issue of border control within the Schengen area and discussed the prospects for the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the publication "Vienna.at" reported.
As for Austria's blocking of the two countries joining the Schengen area, Scholz confirmed the German position that Berlin supports Sofia and Bucharest on the road to Schengen.
For his part, Nehammer highlighted the fact that for the first time within the European Union, the "incredibly big challenges" facing Bulgaria in terms of migration "due to its long external border with Turkey" are becoming more and more relevant.
Nehammer noted again the political projects between Austria and the two Balkan countries for more effective protection of the borders and the provision of pan-European assistance.
"For a long time, Bulgaria was left alone to defend the EU's very long external border in the fight against illegal migrants, in which Bulgarian police officers died," he recalled, but did not indicate any imminent decision by Austria regarding the blockade.
"Germany continues to carry out border controls with Austria, which shows that the Schengen system is structurally dysfunctional," Nehammer said earlier on the eve of the meeting with Scholz. He also noted the need to "consider the further course of action of the EU in the fight against illegal migration, as well as intra-European border control and the functioning of Schengen".
His German colleague emphasized that the border control with Austria is "necessary" given the current data on migration.
At the same time, Scholz expressed confidence that the new EU asylum mechanism, which is currently being negotiated, and agreements with countries of origin and transit will lead to an improvement in migration data in Europe. The two chancellors touched on the problem that, in particular, asylum seekers who come to Austria and Germany via Hungary are largely not registered at the EU's external border, contrary to current regulations.
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