Schengen enlargement

site.btaUPDATED PM Denkov: Austrian Position Is Step in the Right Direction

PM Denkov: Austrian Position Is Step in the Right Direction
PM Denkov: Austrian Position Is Step in the Right Direction
PM Nikolay Denkov (BTA Photo)

Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said Monday that the Austrian position of relaxing the veto on Schengen enlargement into Bulgaria and Romania "is a step in the right direction". Vienna now is willing to accept accession for the two countries to the border-free travel area for air travel only - provided several other conditions are met.

"Of course it is a step in the right direction because to this date Austria took a very firm position," Denkov commented to the press. He said that the talks on the matter are not over yet.

"We insist that the talks continue to the last moment. There is more to be negotiated. The meetings continue," the Prime Minister said. 

The Austrian conditions include "massively strengthening the protection of the (EU) external border by trebling of the number of border police and upgrades to the technical equipment deployed, particularly at Bulgaria's border with Turkiye and Romania's border with Serbia, land border checks staying in place, and asylum seekers being transferred to Bulgaria and Romania", according to a Reuters story on the matter. 

Prime Minister Denkov commented that he still did not know exactly what Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner meant when he announced his country's position. "If it is about respecting the common European rules, where some of the people who are caught in Austria but registered in Bulgaria have to come back here, this is how it works even now. Of course, some people have to go back to their countries of origin. We need to better understand what exactly is meant [by the Austrian position]," Denkov said. 

"As I explained very clearly yesterday, we will not accept any special conditions for Bulgaria. If we are talking about better compliance with common European rules, of course we will comply with them," Denkov added. 

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By 13:36 on 18.05.2024 Today`s news

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