German, Dutch and Austrian officials react to Juncker: It is impossible for Bulgaria and Romania to join Schengen any time soon.

German Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement that it would be impossible for Bulgaria and Romania to join the border-free zone anytime soon. He said that the two Eastern European states have "a long way to go". This is a surprising statement, given that both countries have met the criteria for entering Schengen some time ago. The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's reaction does not come as a surprise because the Netherlands has always opposed Bulgaria's and Romania's bid to join the Schengen area. The first negative reaction, however, came from Austria where Social Democrat Chancellor Kern said that Juncker's approach was "thoughtless" and Conservative leader Sebastian Kurz commented that Schengen and the eurozone are open for all, who meet the criteria. Funny, again - because both Bulgaria and Romania have met the criteria for Schengen, albeit not for the eurozone. 

Now, those are some strong words coming from "anti-populist" apologists like de Maiziere, Kern and Rutte. The main argument used by all Western politicians against the inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania comes down to corruption and organized crime. As Juncker himself pointed out - accepting Bulgaria and Romania into Schengen means more security on the South-Eastern borders of the EU. Bulgarian politicians and citizens are well aware of the fact that there is an unspoken hostility towards them due to misrepresentation in the Western culture. 

This, however, does not excuse the Dutch, German and Austrian attempts to neglect the fact that the countries in question are ready to enter Schengen - one of the final steps towards their complete European integration, especially when corruption has very little relevance to Schengen.


Vasil Manev

Vasil Manev is a student in Computer Science and an aspiring columnist, studying in Heidelberg, Germany.

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