Gary Diskin - Oct 3, 2011

Having joined the EU in 2007, Bulgaria and Romania hoped to become complete members by joining the Schengen agreement. Unfortunately for them, their request was recently denied.

The Schengen agreement was originally drawn up in 1985 between 5 states and is now prominent in 22 of the 27 EU member states, along with 3 non-EU states of Europe. The idea was to cancel border controls to save people hassle and allow for the free movement of goods and, more importantly, people. All seemed to be going well, until recently when countries started to reintroduce border controls and the EU’s newest members have not been allowed into the agreement.

Denmark have recently introduced a new form of inspection on its borders because of fears of refugees coming to the country. Many other member states have started to think about doing the same because of scare mongering reports in newspapers involving Arab uprisings and the ideas of North Africa invading Europe.

This is perhaps why, despite fulfilling the necessary requirements, Bulgaria and Romania were refused entry at a recent summit. The official reasons are surrounded by corruption and judicial problems in the states involved.

However, the Netherlands and Finland were the main objectors to Bulgaria and Romania being a part of Schengen zone, an indication of the real issues arises. It is no coincidence that nationalists and right-wingers have enjoyed recent success in these countries and their fears about the free movement of Bulgarian and Romanian co-Europeans are linked to recent political action. Revenge has taken place in the form of Romanian customs not allowing a Dutch truck full of flowers through its borders and tensions between the four afore-mentioned countries may get worse.

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