Visit to Bulgaria – Nehammer insists: “Schengen veto remains in force”

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Austria maintains its Schengen veto. Before his visit to Bulgaria, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) stressed on Saturday: “As long as the Schengen area does not work and Germany, for example, carries out border controls with other Schengen member states such as Austria, as many other European countries do, we cannot expand this space. The Schengen veto of Austria will therefore remain in force until the situation fundamentally changes.”

Nehammer and Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) will travel to the Bulgarian-Turkish border on Monday for a local inspection. Austria vetoed Bulgaria’s and Romania’s accession to Schengen in December due to illegal migration. Only Croatia joined the border-free Schengen area at the beginning of this year, as proposed by the European Commission.

Greece as an example
Prior to the visit, according to the broadcast, Nehammer called for “full support for Bulgaria and Romania and finally concrete actions by the European Commission to strengthen the protection of the external borders. Bulgaria must be able to set up border security that is as robust as Greece’s. The necessary resources from the EU budget must be made available for this.”

Nehammer also demanded: “We need to put even more pressure on the asylum brake – not just in Austria, but all over Europe.” He also wanted to discuss this with Bulgarian President Rumen Radew during his visit to Bulgaria and in the border area between Bulgaria and Turkey.

Sofia needs “quick support to protect the external border”
According to the broadcast, Karner said: “Bulgaria needs fast and good support in protecting its external border with Turkey. The Greek border fence can serve as a model.” The high number of arrests in Austria would show that “the Schengen system is broken. As long as this system and the protection of the external borders do not work, no expansion can take place.”

The EU Commission is in the way
So far, the European Commission has refused to give money for walls, fences and barbed wire, only wanting to support infrastructure at the border. In December, the EU authority said it is up to Bulgaria to decide what resources it needs to protect its borders. The EU border control agency Frontex is currently represented in Bulgaria with 137 personnel and equipment.

The Chancellor and the Interior Minister complain that Bulgaria is being left alone to protect its approximately 240 km long EU external border with Turkey. Reference was also made to videos on social networks showing how easy it is to overcome the existing barriers at the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

Nehammer and Karner travel to Bulgaria on Sunday evening. On Monday you will drive to the border with Radev and Bulgarian Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev. A visit to the Border Police Regional Coordination Center near the town of Elhovo is planned, as well as a meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Galab Donev after the return trip to Sofia.

Source: Krone

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