Should the Schengen Area be expanded?
In last week's state of the union address EU Commission President Juncker spoke out in favour of extending the Schengen Area to include Romania and Bulgaria without delay. In view of criticism from various EU member states, however, commentators in the two countries have little hope that border checks will soon be a thing of the past for them.
The risky double standards of the rich EU states
The opposition of Germany, Austria and the Netherlands to Juncker's proposals highlights once more the double standards of the rich EU countries, Duma fumes:
“This is nothing new. Remember the food scandal, the refugees and the visas for the US and Canada. It's not for nothing that many say a multi-speed Europe already exists. There are two speeds for sure: one for the so-called 'old Europe' and one for the newcomers, the poor relatives from the East. The former can do as they please while the latter have to stick to the rules if they don't want to lose their EU subsidies. The double standards of the 'old' are starting to really get on our nerves. No one likes to be treated as if they were inferior. The EU needn't be surprised that the East is causing more and more problems.”
Is Austria just afraid?
The Romanian business paper Ziarul Financiar has a theory about why Austria doesn't agree with Juncker's proposals:
“Austria doesn't consider us a partner in the political dialogue despite investments by Austrian companies in Romania amounting to ten billion euros. Austria's population is only half that of Romania, but its GDP is twice as high. The game of politics is controlled by those with the economic clout. ... If Romania and Bulgaria entered the Schengen Area it would make three borders 'superfluous' (those between Greece and Bulgaria, Romania and Bulgaria, and Romania and Hungary). Up to now these borders have been an obstacle to refugees arriving in Greece. With the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, however, a route to Vienna would open up for the refugees. If that's what's bothering the Austrians, they should just come out and say it.”