Finland Also Says No to Bulgaria, Romania Schengen Entry

Finland Also Says No to Bulgaria, Romania Schengen Entry

Finland has joined France and Germany in opposing Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the Schengen zone, a Finnish government spokesman said. "Finland's committee for European affairs took the official position in a meeting last week," spokesman Mikko Norros told AFP.

The announcement came just as the French European Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez paid a visit to Helsinki on Thursday. Speaking at a joint press conference, Finland's minister for european affairs and immigration Astrid Thors, said Romania and Bulgaria had done good work so far in meeting the requirements for joining the Schengen zone, but that more had to be done. "Both countries still need to take concrete actions to strengthen the battle against corruption and crime," she said.

France and Germany reiterated Thursday their staunch opposition to a March 2011 entry of Bulgaria and Romania in the Schengen Area. "If Schengen's database enters into the hands of international organized crime, then all European internal security vanishes into thin air," said European Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez at a press-conference in Helsinki.

The French minister thus intensified worries on the part of both France and Germany that Bulgaria and Romania have still sufficient problems with justice and law enforcement that could render Schengen entry impracticable for the time being. Wauquiez characterized a March 2011 accession to Schengen as "premature," recalling France's position that Bulgaria and Romania are in addition vulnerable to illegal immigration and trafficking of weapons, drugs and humans.

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