Austria officially supports the entry of Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen area. Austrian Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler stated this on Thursday, Puls 4 TV channel reports.
“Austria still officially supports the accession of Croatia, as well as Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen zone,” Kogler stressed. Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner publicly opposed the expansion of the Schengen zone on November 21, basing his position on the increased number of illegal migrants , TASS reports.
On November 23, during a visit to Zagreb, the Federal Chancellor of the Republic, Karl Nehammer, announced that Vienna would support Croatia’s entry into the Schengen, but “will be critical” of the applications of Bulgaria and Romania. The Interior Minister and the Prime Minister represent the Austrian People’s Party, while Kogler is the leader of its coalition partner, the Greens.
The Schengen area includes 26 European states that have a unified border control system. Most of them are also members of the European Union. The agreement was joined by Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which are not part of the EU. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Croatia are not yet part of this zone, but intend to join it. This requires the approval of all current Schengen members. On November 16, the European Commission announced the readiness of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to join the Schengen area and recommended that the EU Council approve this decision. The Council is expected to consider it on 8 December.