Austria speaks out against Schengen expansion — RT World News
Interior Minister Gerhard Karner has contradicted calls by a senior EU official for Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania to join the zone
Austria will not support an expansion of the Schengen area at this stage, the country’s Interior Minister Gerhard Karner has said, citing lax controls at the area’s external borders. His comment came shortly after EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said it was time for Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania to become parties to the deal.
Speaking to Austrian newspaper Kurier on Friday, Karner said: “Voting on enlargement would be inappropriate now, when the system of external borders does not work.The Minister referred to the continuous flow of migrants via the Balkans. He noted that more than 90,000 illegal migrants had been apprehended in Austria so far this year alone.
Karner warned that “expanding a broken system cannot work.“He reiterated that the “exterior protection [Schengen] borders have failed.”
The report suggested that a potential expansion of the borderless zone would prove to be a contentious topic at next week’s special meeting of EU interior ministers.
The Austrian official’s comment came shortly after Johansson claimed on Wednesday that he was “it is high time to welcome» Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania in the Schengen area, calling on all EU Member States to support their membership.
The vote is expected to take place on December 8, with the unanimous support of the 27 nations needed to pass the decision.
Created in 1995, the Schengen area currently includes all EU member states except the three countries mentioned above as well as Ireland and Cyprus. Four other nations outside the bloc are also part of the zone: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Under the Schengen Agreement, border controls between signatories have been abolished.
However, some countries, including Austria, opted to reinstate them amid the 2015 migrant crisis to prevent asylum seekers from entering their territory en masse.