Federal minister of the interior hans-peter friedrich (CSU) affirmed the german no at the meeting of the EU ministers of the interior in brussel: "at present the time is not ripe."
Europe’s interior ministers do not intend to address the issue again until the end of the year. Joining the union is off the table for 2013. The admission of the two EU partners as full members of the schengen area has already been postponed several times. German veto met with criticism from SPD, greens and left-wing party. Praise, however, came from the police trade union.
Since all 27 EU member states must agree, a single country can block accession. "There were a number of states that had political concerns," said irish justice minister alan shatter, who is currently leading the meetings. This includes germany, the netherlands and austria. Ministers refrained from voting at the meeting – partly because of german concerns. Friedrich had threatened to use his veto.
The accusation is that romania and bulgaria lack the rule of law and do too little in the fight against corruption and organized crime. Friedrich said: "we still have weaknesses in some areas, especially in the functioning of the judiciary."
At the end of the year, according to shatter, the issue will be the accession of romania and bulgaria in two stages. This would mean that first the controls at ports and airports would be eliminated, and later those at land border crossings. Germany also sees this as an option. Whether the EU will come to an agreement, however, remains to be seen. EU commissioner for internal affairs cecilia malmstrom said: "time will tell if we can find a solution. I certainly hope so."
Friedrich warned of the consequences of open borders. Non-EU citizens staying in romania and bulgaria could travel from there to the EU without checks: "this has to do with the safety of our citizens and there can be no compromise on that."The police union predicted a "total collapse of border controls at the schengen borders" if bulgaria and romania were included now.
Friedrich also warned against an influx of refugees fleeing poverty. People from all over europe who believe they can live better on welfare in germany than in their own countries must be expected to come to germany."
Friedrich discussed this topic with his colleagues from austria, the netherlands and great britain in a small meeting. The states demand that the council debate it in june. "I think it is necessary that we talk about these things now, before it becomes a real conflagration and an explosive device for european solidarity," the minister said, citing re-entry bans as a possible remedy.
According to EU diplomats, communities in the four countries are registering an increasing number of arrivals, especially from romania and bulgaria. The EU commission promptly contradicted this. A commission spokesman said the states had not yet submitted data: "this problem does not exist. It is a perception in some countries that is not borne out by reality."
In brussel, the head of the left-wing group in the bundestag, gregor gysi, criticized the plan as a "barrier for the poor" and spoke of "rather absurd ideas. EU parliament president martin schulz already criticized the postponement of the schengen expansion on wednesday: "we are a community of law. I reject political criteria."
Romania and bulgaria have been members of the european union since 2007. Because of deficits, both countries must regularly have their progress in the judicial system and in the fight against crime and corruption reviewed. These reports are submitted by the EU commission – it had recently identified deficiencies again.
In 1985, the schengen states agreed to abolish the border patrols. At their borders, travelers are now checked only on a random basis or in the case of special events. The schengen area includes 26 states: 22 eu countries plus norway, iceland, switzerland and liechtenstein.
On thursday, EU ministers also decided that, after years of delays, the new european police database, SIS II, would be launched on 9. To start in april. The search software is to provide police and judiciary throughout europe with data on wanted criminals or stolen cars, for example. Breakdowns and problems delayed completion. Costs increased from 15 to 160 million euros.