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January 19, 2011

Germany Opposes Schengen Membership for Bulgaria, Romania

Germany opposes their entry to Europe's visa-free Schengen travel zone, saying the two countries need to do more to fight corruption

Germany stands opposed to Bulgaria and Romania joining Europe's visa-free Schengen travel zone, saying the two countries need to do more to fight corruption.

Speaking in Brussels Thursday, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere praised Bulgaria and Romania for their efforts to meet the technical requirements of joining the Schengen zone.  But he said questions remain about the two nations' judiciaries and their commitments to fighting corruption.

The Schengen zone allows the citizens of its 25 member nations to travel freely without border controls.

In December, both European Union members Germany and France said they opposed the removal of border controls between Bulgaria and Romania and the rest of the EU.  Bulgaria and Romania are the EU's most eastern members.

Hungary, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, has expressed support for expanding the border-free Schengen zone to include the two nations.

All Schengen countries are in Europe, but not all are members of the European Union.  The two regional associations operate under different agreements.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.