The Spanish Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has hoped that Austria and the Netherlands will reconsider “as soon as possible” their veto on the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area without borders because, with this decision “loses the entire European Union”.
“We will continue working so that those who want to have the veto reconsider their position as soon as possible, because today who has lost is not only Romania and Bulgaria, who have made a clear effort, but we have lost the whole of the EU and Schengen” , indicated Marlaska in statements to the press at the end of the meeting with his European colleagues in Brussels.
The extension of Schengen to these two countries and to Croatia has been one of the key issues of the EU Interior Council where the ministers have agreed to allow Croatia to enter the border-free area from January 1, 2023, but have been unable to convince Austria and the Netherlands to withdraw their reservations.
“We hope that these countries that have placed the veto reconsider their position as soon as possible and return to the heritage that makes us all much better,” he stressed.
The Austrian and Dutch governments raise doubts about the ability of Romania and Bulgaria, especially the latter, to control the external border and stop the irregular passage of migrants from the Western Balkans, a route that, however, also carries some of the pressure migration to Croatia.
Both the European Commission and various delegations have been very critical of the position of Austria and the Netherlands for a blockade that they consider “political” and “unfair”, in the words of the vice president of the Community Executive responsible for migration, Margaritis Schinas.
Marlaska has also expressed his “displeasure” at the frustrated entry of Romania and Schengen “because they have been fulfilling all the requirements for eleven years” that the rest of the partners put in order to accept their entry.
This rejection, warned the minister, “causes the necessary and precise trust between all members to be called into question.” “We are all absolutely upset, today Romania and Bulgaria have not lost, today they have lost the Schengen area”, reasoned the Spanish minister because in his opinion the addition of these countries to Schengen “strengthened” the bloc and “in no way weakened us “.