Home » Croatia to join Schengen zone, but Romania and Bulgaria kept out

Croatia to join Schengen zone, but Romania and Bulgaria kept out

by Mahmmod Shar

Two refused countries will try again after Austria raised concerns about unauthorised immigration


Croatia has been given the green light to join Europe’s open travel zone, but Bulgaria and Romania were kept out because of opposition led by Austria over concerns about unauthorised immigration.

Croatia was cleared to become the Schengen zone’s 27th member after talks between the bloc’s interior ministers in Brussels. From 2023, people will not have to stop for border checks as they pass between Croatia and the rest of the zone.

“To the citizens of Croatia: welcome, congratulations!” said the European commissioner for home affairs, Ylva Johansson. “To the citizens of Romania and Bulgaria: you deserve to be full members of Schengen, to have access to the free movement … I share the disappointment with the citizens of Bulgaria and Romania.”

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Nicolae Ciucă, the prime minister of Romania, expressed disappointment and said he would reapply to enter the zone. He stated, “We regret and sincerely do not understand the rigid stance taken by Austria. Bulgaria declared that it would also try again.

Gerhard Karner, the interior minister for Austria, claimed that he had opposed the applications of Romania and Bulgaria due to security reasons. A system that is currently being expanded “is wrong because it does not work properly in many places,” he said.

According to Karner, Austria has so far this year recorded 100,000 illegal border crossings, including 75,000 individuals who should have been properly registered in other Schengen nations but were not.

The 22 member states of the EU, as well as Lichtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland, must all vote in favor of accession. The Netherlands opposed allowing Bulgaria access as well, citing worries about corruption and immigration.

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