Schengen: accession "light" for Romania and Bulgaria?

Austria has softened its stance in the debate on Romania and Bulgaria joining the Schengen area and proposed allowing a partial accession limited to the area of air traffic, dubbed the "Air Schengen" solution, in exchange for tougher controls on migrants. Romanian and Bulgarian commentators discuss whether such a deal is acceptable.

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Kapital (BG) /

An acceptable interim solution

Kapital says the "Air Schengen" solution isn't such a bad idea:

“Realistically this is the simplest compromise, since abuses at airports are almost impossible. Currently travellers to and from Bulgaria and Romania are subject to very strict controls at airports, and must use more distant and less convenient gates together with third-country nationals. An Air Schengen solution would allow them to travel without passport controls, but there would still be security checks. In a second step, the national land borders would be opened. Normally this should happen a year later, but [in this case] more time to prepare would likely be needed.”

Trud (BG) /

No half measures

Trud says this is not a viable solution, but at least it's a hopeful sign:

“Joining the Schengen area only on air travel is like being a little bit pregnant - there's no such thing. Either we join Schengen completely, whose criteria we have been fulfilling for years, or we don't join at all. Nobody needs prettily-wrapped partial solutions. It's an insult to even be having this discussion. At the same time, however, it is also a sign that Austria has begun to soften. ... The Netherlands would then be in the lonely position of being our only Schengen opponent in the entire EU, which would increase the diplomatic pressure on the country.”

Spotmedia (RO) /

Say no to cherry-picking

Spotmedia argues that any country that wants to enter the Schengen Area must also observe its rules:

“Basically, beyond the details, we should be clear about whether we want to be in or not. Joining means rights and obligations, advantages and disadvantages, active and passive solidarity. Migrants are the passive part. In other words, you can't preach water and drink wine. If we want to be part of the Schengen area, we must also take on its problems. That applies as a matter of principle. On the other hand, I don't believe that there will be a huge exodus towards Romania or that people will be clamouring to apply for asylum here.”