Two more countries are expected to join the Schengen zone in 2023. We are talking about Bulgaria and Romania, which submitted applications at the same time as Croatia — which, let’s recall, was included in Schengen and the Eurozone in January. However, there may be a problem – Austria, which has protested against their entry into Schengen, is not going to give up either.
“Romania and Bulgaria are doing everything possible to protect the borders and expect to receive a positive decision on joining Schengen this year,” said Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Separately, he drew attention to the fact that both countries play an important role in protecting the borders of the zone.
The statement is not accidental – we will remind you that in November of last year, the Czech Republic, which presides over the Council of the European Union, announced the accession of three new countries to the Schengen zone at once – Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania. The decision is due in December, and it turned out not to be in favor of two of these countries. Croatia was admitted to Schengen, while Romania and Bulgaria were “blocked” by Austria. The main reason stated by the Austrian authorities is the problem of illegal migration in Romania and Bulgaria.
As the President of Romania assured, the problem of illegal migration is “artificially mixed with the Schengen issue.” He also assured that both countries are “doing everything possible to prevent illegal migration. “We expect that our right to be part of the Schengen zone will be recognized, and we hope to receive a positive decision this year,” the head of Romania added.
Austria, in turn, intends to stand its ground: during a visit to Bulgaria, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that Bulgaria still has problems with illegal migration. In addition, according to him, the Schengen zone cannot be expanded right now, because “the system is in a serious crisis.”