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Romania & Bulgaria Can Join Schengen Only After EU Reforms Its Migration Policy

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Austria will support Romania and Bulgaria joining in the Schengen Zone only after changes are applied to the European Union migration policy.

Such comments have been made by Austria’s Minister for European Affairs, Karoline Edtstadler.

“We want to continue discussing the Schengen expansion, in coordination with partners in Bulgaria and Romania, so that we can put it back on the agenda after the necessary steps are taken regarding migration and asylum policy,” Edtstadler told Austrian radio ORF.

In addition, the Minister stressed that the government of Austria expects further progress to be made in this regard from January when the presidency of the European Union Council will be taken over Sweden, considering Sweden a country that has experience when it comes to migration.

According to Edtstadler, the decision regarding Schengen Zone growth will not be delayed until the whole asylum reform at EU level is adopted, after which the process will take time.

“We have to take these steps, step by step, and establish a plan, and then we can talk about expanding Schengen to include Bulgaria and Romania,” she pointed out in this regard.

Authorities in Austria believe that a pilot project for accelerated management of asylum procedures at the EU’s external borders, money for all states located at these borders as well as the opportunity to request asylum in safe third countries should also be included in the new changes to the European Union policy for migrants.

Recently, the European Union Member States unanimously supported Croatia’s joining the Schengen Zone, which will officially happen on January 1, 2023, but Austria had a different opinion when  it came to Romania and Bulgaria.

Despite the fact that Austria’s decision was criticized, Austria’s Federal Chancellor, Karl Nehammer, earlier this month said that he stands behind Austria’s decision.

Even though both Balkan countries have met the needed requirements in order to become part of the borderless area of Schengen, the process has not been finalized yet.

According to a report provided by Deutsche Welle, Austria said that there would be no Schengen Area extension as long as the EU’s external borders are not effectively protected.

“The misguided EU asylum policy has caused this situation. Now we will continue to fight in the EU to correct these mistakes,” he stressed regarding the issue.

In addition to Austria, authorities in the Netherlands took similar decisions. The vote against Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen Zone was criticized not only by authorities in both these Balkan countries but also in other European countries.

Previously, the Minister of Economy of Romania, said that remaining outside the borderless area of Schengen causes €10 billion financial loss to this Balkan country.

Source : Schengen Visa

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