Austria rejected Von der Leyen's appeal for Bulgaria’s Admission in SchengenEU | September 14, 2023, Thursday // 13:11| views
Austria has rejected the call of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to lift her veto on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen, claiming that there is no point in expanding the visa-free zone at the moment, reported the online publication "EURACTIV".
In her "State of the Union" speech yesterday, von der Leyen addressed Austria regarding the blocking of Bulgaria and Romania, urging: "Let's finally let them in - without further delay." However, Austria quickly rejected this call, notes "EURACTIV".
"At the moment, the number of migrants across Europe is growing and additional border controls are being discussed in many countries, for example at the border between Germany and Poland," said Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner.
"At this point, for me, it makes no sense to talk about expanding Schengen. We need more control, not less," Karner added.
Austria has blocked the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen area, fearing an influx of illegal migrants, EUROACTIV points out.
According to the Austrian government, the two countries cannot effectively control their borders, which would become the external borders of the European Union after their admission to Schengen.
On the other hand, Von der Leyen emphasized that the two Eastern European countries have already become a model for "the application of good practices in the field of asylum and repatriation". "They proved it: Bulgaria and Romania are part of our Schengen area," said the President of the EC.
In Austria itself, the government's uncompromising position on the issue of the veto of Bulgaria and Romania was also criticized - by the liberal NEOS party, now in opposition.
"This is a direct appeal to the federal government of Austria to finally lift its indescribable, anti-European veto," said NEOS MEP Claudia Gamon, quoted by Austria's APA news agency, after von der Leyen's speech.
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