The Challenges Facing Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen Bids

Oct 24, 2023 | 16:30 GMT

A blue EU sign is seen at a Romanian border crossing.
An EU sign is seen at a Romanian border crossing.

(Getty Images)

Bulgaria and Romania are increasing their diplomatic push to join the European Union's passport-free Schengen Area by the end of the year, but skepticism in Austria and the Netherlands will likely continue to delay their membership and the economic benefits associated with it. On Oct. 24, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov arrived in Vienna for a series of meetings with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and members of the Austrian Parliament. The Bulgarian delegation includes the Minister of Internal Affairs Kalin Stoyanov and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Elena Shekerletova. Denkov's trip is part of a diplomatic effort to convince Austria to lift its veto on Bulgaria's accession to the passport-free Schengen area. Austria and the Netherlands are currently vetoing Bulgaria's accession to Schengen, arguing that the Balkan country is not doing enough to prevent the arrival of irregular migrants in its territory. Austria is also against Romania's accession to...

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