France and Germany officially called for a delay of Bulgaria's and Romania's accession to the Schengen area, Radio France Internationale Romania says on its website.
In a letter to European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, the interior ministers of France and Germany wrote that the accession will be "premature" if it happens in March 2011.
"Not all conditions have been fulfilled for the two countries' accession to the Schengen area," ministers Brice Hortefeux and Thomas de Maiziere wrote. They pointed to "shortcomings" in the fields of security, justice and the fight against crime and corruption.
They acknowledged, however, that in technical terms the process of Bulgaria's and Romania's entry to Schengen is positive as a whole.
Commenting on France and Germany's decision, Bulgarian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vessela Cherneva told BTA: "We should redouble our efforts, including in areas such as the judicial system, so we can dispel the doubts of some of our European partners about our ability to meet the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) criteria."
Cherneva said Bulgaria will be technically prepared to join the Schengen area by March 2011.