The countries of the European Union (EU) agreed to join Croatia to the Schengen area from January 1, while Austria blocked the abolition of border controls with Romania and Bulgaria. It is reported by Reuters.
The EU Executive European Commission has recommended the admission of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to the Schengen area, stating that all countries meet the necessary technical requirements. The agency notes that Bulgaria and Romania will remain out of the free movement zone due to Austrian concerns about growing illegal immigration.
Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner told reporters, arriving at a meeting in Brussels, that he would vote against the admission of Romania and Bulgaria. According to him, this year Austria registered 100,000 illegal border crossings, including 75,000 people who had not previously been registered on the continent. This should not happen in a country deep inside the Schengen area, the minister stressed. The Netherlands sided with Austria, also refusing to grant access to Bulgaria, citing concerns about corruption and migration. Over the past decade, the number of migrants from the Middle East and Africa has increased, because of which the member countries of the agreement often tried to contain emerging security threats, writes Reuters.
Entry into the Schengen area requires unanimous support from all members, and these are the 22 EU countries, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.