EU Divided on Schengen Membership for Romania and Bulgaria

Posted September 22nd, 2011 at 8:20 am (UTC-5)
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European Union interior ministers were divided Thursday over whether to expand the 25-nation Schengen borderless zone to include EU members Romania and Bulgaria.

Bulgaria and Romania hope to become a part of the Schengen zone this year and have support from many EU members. But the Netherlands and Finland have expressed opposition, saying that both countries need to do a better job of fighting corruption and organized crime before border checks are ended.

The issue is being discussed at a meeting of the EU's Home Affairs Council in Brussels. In order for Romania and Bulgaria to join, there would have to be unanimous approval from the 22 countries that are members of both the European Union and Schengen. Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007.

The dispute over the Romanian and Bulgarian bids is the latest controversy for the Schengen area. Some EU countries are increasingly seeking permission to temporarily reinstate internal border controls due to concerns over illegal migration.