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Germany against swift expansion of the Schengen zone

Friday, September 15th, 2017 | World News

Traveling without border controls is one of the greatest achievements in Europe. The new EU members in the Southeast are not yet there, probably in the foreseeable future.

Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière, is against the rapid admission of EU countries like Romania or Bulgaria to the Schengen area without border controls. He shares the vision of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said the CDU politician. "But frankly, it's still quite a long way." Austria too is skeptical.

On Wednesday Wednesday, Juncker had asked in a principle speech to include all EU countries in the 1985 Schengen agreement, which abolished the permanent border controls between the states involved. Of the current 28 EU countries, the UK, Ireland, Cyprus and the relatively new members Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia are outside.

"Fulfill criteria"
De Maizière also reaffirmed the intention to maintain controls on the German border with Austria, which were not actually planned under the Schengen Agreement. "As long as the EU's external borders are not secure enough, there will also be the need for internal border controls," he said.

The controls were introduced at the height of the 2015/2016 refugee crisis. The EU Commission recently stated that the exemptions from the Schengen rules granted at the time were irrevocable in November. However, Germany could continue it with a different reason.

 Against Juncker's advance for the extension of the Schengen zone came concerns from Austria. Vice Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that there are rules for all Member States that need to be met. "The euro and the Schengen, which were and are open to everyone, but only for everyone who meets the criteria."

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