Nehammer and Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) are traveling to the Bulgarian-Turkish border for a spot inspection on Monday. Sofia needs “quick and adequate support with the
Protection of the external border with Turkey,” said the Federal Chancellor.
Austria maintains its Schengen veto. Before his visit to Bulgaria, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) emphasized on Saturday: “As long as the Schengen area does not work and, for example, Germany carries out border controls with other Schengen member countries, such as Austria, as well as many other European countries do so, we can use this space and not expand. Austria’s Schengen veto will therefore remain in effect until the situation fundamentally changes.”
Nehammer and Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) are traveling to the Bulgarian-Turkish border for a spot inspection on Monday. Austria vetoed Bulgaria and Romania’s Schengen membership in December because of illegal migration. Only Croatia joined – at the proposal of the EU Commission – to the border-free Schengen area at the beginning of the year.
Ahead of the visit, according to the broadcast, Nehammer called for “full support for Bulgaria and Romania and finally concrete action by the European Commission to strengthen the protection of the external borders. Bulgaria must be able to establish border protection that is as robust as Greece. The necessary funds will be made available from the EU budget.” Nehammer also demanded: “We have to put even more of the brakes on the asylum – not just in Austria, but across Europe”. He also wants to discuss this with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev during his visit to Bulgaria and the border region between Bulgaria and Turkey.
Karner: “Broken Schengen System”
According to the broadcast, Karner said: “Bulgaria needs prompt and adequate support to secure the external border with Turkey. The Greek border fence can serve as a model.” The high number of seizures 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, there can be no expansion”.
So far, the EU Commission has refused to give money for walls, fences and barbed wire, it just wants to support the infrastructure at the border. In December, the EU official said it was up to Bulgaria to decide what resources it needed to secure its borders. The EU border protection agency Frontex is currently represented in Bulgaria with 137 staff and equipment.
The Federal Chancellor and the Minister of the Interior complain that Bulgaria is being left alone to protect its approximately 240-kilometre-long EU external border with Turkey. Reference was also made to videos on social networks that show how easy it is to overcome the existing barriers on the Bulgarian-Turkish border.
Nehammer and Karner travel to Bulgaria on Sunday night. On Monday, you will drive to the border together with Radev and Bulgarian Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev. A visit to the regional border police coordination center near the city of Elhovo is planned, as well as a meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Galab Donev after the return trip to Sofia.
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