Spain’s Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has conveyed to his counterparts from Romania, Lucian Nicolae Bode, and Bulgaria, Ivan Demerdzhiev, Spain’s support for both countries accession to the borderless area of Schengen during the Spanish Presidency of the European Union.
Spain’s Foreign Minister’s comments during his visits to Bucharest and Sofia where he has held work meetings with his Romania and Bulgaria counterparts ahead of the Spanish presidency of the EU in the second half of this year, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“We will work as hard as possible to unlock this issue and I am confident that the formal meeting of the Council of Interior Ministers scheduled for next September will be the moment to finally achieve results,” Grande-Marlaska pointed out during his visit to both Balkan countries.
The Minister emphasized the need to abolish internal border controls, adding that such a decision should have been taken long ago.
Grande-Marlaska also met with the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis. The Spanish Minister thanked the President of Romania for the distinction, which recognizes “the important contribution and extraordinary involvement in the development of excellent bilateral relations in the field of Home Affairs”.
In addition, the Spanish Interior Minister also conveyed to the president his commitment “to redouble efforts to deserve this honour” and also further strengthen bilateral relations with Romania.
In the afternoon, Grande-Marlaska flew to Bulgaria’s capital, where he met with the Bulgarian Interior Minister, Ivan Demerdzhiev, before returning to Spain.
Grande-Marlaska’s visit to Bucharest as well as Sofia is part of the minister’s round of meeting with his European counterparts in order to prepare for the Spanish presidency of the EU.
Previously, the President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, stressed that both Balkan countries are ready to become part of the Schengen Zone, disassociating himself from the country’s chancellor, Karl Nehammer comments who emphasized that he continues to remain against Romania and Bulgaria accession to the Schengen.
Bellen stressed that both countries have already met all the needed requirements in order to become members of the Schengen Area while noting that he is stressed about the reputation of Austria.
“We have to know who is entering the EU and Austria, who is applying for asylum. And, of course, the EU has to control its external borders. Romania and Bulgaria meet the criteria for Schengen membership. I’m concerned about Austria’s reputation with our European partners,” Bellen’s statement notes.
Previously, Austria’s Minister for European Affairs, Karoline Edtstadle, Romania and Bulgaria journey to become members of the borderless Area of Schengen was blocked in December last year by Austria.
>>Romania & Bulgaria Expect to Get Approval on Schengen Accession This Year