Sarkozy Ties Up Bulgaria, Romania Schengen Entry with Monitoring Mechanism

Sarkozy Ties Up Bulgaria, Romania Schengen Entry with Monitoring Mechanism

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has dealt yet another blow to efforts by Bulgaria and Romania to separate Schengen accession from the European Commission's continued monitoring of their justice reform and anti-corruption efforts.

"Let's wait for this process to be completed before we fix the date when Romania and Bulgaria will join the Schengen," Sarkozy said, referring to the so-called Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), through which Brussels monitors the progress the two countries are making in justice and home affairs.

When the two countries joined the EU, in 2007, persistent corruption and insufficient reforms of their jutice systems determined the set-up of an unprecedented monitoring mechanism, which so far led to the freezing of some EUR 500 M in Bulgaria due to fraud associated with EU funds.

"If the two countries enter the Schengen area, this means that they will become guardians of the borders of Europe, which means that their border problems must be resolved before their accession," Sarkozy added, apparently talking about the border issues between Romania and Moldova.

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