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German politicians blame Romania’s USL for delays in Schengen accession for Romania and Bulgaria

Two conservative German MEPs have publicly blamed Romania’s left of center government by the Social Liberal Union (USL) for holding up Romania and Bulgaria’s Schengen area accession. Contradicting his own government and dismissing the European Commission’s position, German MEP Manfred Weber (in picture), vice chairman of the European People’s Party, lauded Bulgaria’s progress and laid the blame for blocking both countries from Schengen membership squarely on the shoulders of the Romanian government.

Speaking at a public event in Brussels, Weber said the two countries “always come as a package, the reason why Schengen enlargement didn’t take place lies with Romania, not with Bulgaria,” quoted yesterday (April 10 ) by European news organization EurActiv.

Manfred Weber also took the opportunity to take a swipe at the Francois Hollande government in France. “When we look at our neighbor France where François Hollande promised all kinds of things, growth is decreasing, unemployment is rising, debt is rising, and that’s just what happens when the Socialists take power,” he said.

Back in February, Weber said there was a ‘scandalous state of affairs in Romania,’ during a European Parliament meeting.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has also recently questioned the two countries’ readiness to join the Schengen area and apportioned culpability to Romania.

Both the German politicians belong to the conservative Christian Social Union. In the ongoing Schengen saga, the European Commission has judged that Romania and Bulgaria are ready to join. However, several national governments have referred to outstanding targets set by the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism as excuses to veto Schengen accession for the two countries. The EC deems the CVM inappropriate to judge Romania and Bulgaria’s readiness for Schengen membership, highlighting that the border free zone has its own accession procedures and criteria.

Liam Lever, liam@romania-insider.com