Austria continues to oppose the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Zone, according to the Federal Chancellery in Vienna.
The same said that Vienna maintains its veto when it comes to this issue, stressing that it is not a matter of party politics but one of security policy.
The Federal Chancellery’s comments came when asked by Die Tageszeitun if there is any change in attitude after the European Parliament urged the Council to approve the accession of both these Balkan states to the EU’s visa-free travel zone by the end of this year.
A press release issued by the European Union’s Parliament on July 12 revealed a new resolution, which emphasised that both states have met all the needed conditions in order to become part of Schengen. The resolution was supported by 526 MEPs, while 57 were against it.
The same noted that keeping both states outside the borderless area, socially and economically, brings damages to the populations as well as business in these two states.
“Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania are discriminated against, as they face delays, bureaucratic difficulties and additional costs when travelling or doing business abroad, compared to their counterparts in the Schengen area,” the resolution noted.
Earlier this month, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius, told the European Parliament that the EU Commission and Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU are working in order for Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the Schengen Zone to be accomplished by the end of this year.
He noted that the finalisation of this process is among the top priorities of the Spanish European Union Council Presidency.
Sinkevicius reiterated Commission’s comments that both countries had met all the needed conditions since 2011.
The Spanish ambassador in Romania, Jose Antonio Hernandez Perez-Solorzano, said that the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Area may be brought to the table during the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) meeting that will be held in October this year.
However, previously, Austria’s Minister for European Affairs said that the country would support the membership of these two countries to the Schengen Zone only after changes are applied to the EU migration policy.
In December last year, authorities in Austria and the Netherlands opposed the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Zone, citing unlawful migration concerns.