Schengen Visa

Hungarian MFA Pushes for Bulgaria & Romania to Join Schengen

A view of a Schengen sign in the village of Schengen

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, Peter Sijjarto, has appealed to Austria to allow Bulgaria and Romania to become part of the Schengen Area.

Sijjarto’s comments came during a news conference with Romanian Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Sorin Grindeanu, which he had during his visit to Timisoara, Romania, reports.

Hungarian Foreign Minister considered that it was of strategic interest for his country to be eligible to cooperate closely with Romania.

Calling it “shameful” that EU’s Schengen Zone had not been further extended to include Bulgaria and Romania, Sijjarto stressed that the Austrian friends were requested and urged to refrain from their veto this fall and support both Balkan countries to join the Schengen Area.

The accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Zone would also be in Hungary’s interest, according to Szijjarto.

Unlawful migration concerns were cited as the main reasons that led authorities in Austria and the Netherlands to oppose the accession of these two countries to the passport-free area in December last year.

Authorities in Austria have made it clear that their position remains unchanged when it comes to this issue. Last month, Austria’s Ministry of the Interior confirmed to that Vienna remains firm in its stance against the inclusion of these two countries in the Schengen Zone.

The Ministry said that as long as the system “Schengen” does not work, there is no point in expanding it.

“Migration pressure remains high. This means that the external border protection clearly does not work. Against this background and from today’s point of view, Austria is unable to support the accession of Bulgaria and Romania at this stage,” the Ministry of the Interior noted.

Last month, local media in Bulgaria reported that Bulgaria’s Schengen readiness will be evaluated by a foreign mission with the participation of Austrian and Dutch representatives.

Based on such reports, these comments were made by Bulgaria’s Minister of Interior, Kalin Stoyanov. However, Austria’s Ministry of the Interior considered the remarks fictitious while confirming that the country remains against this process.

“There will be no joint foreign mission; this is fictitious,” Austria’s Ministry of Interior pointed out.

In July this year, the EU’s Parliament adopted a new resolution, calling on the Council to take seriously the issue of Schengen accession for both Bulgaria and Romania and permit these countries to become the newest members of the Schengen Area before the end of this year.