Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser visits EU external border

Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser visits EU external border


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, Date:
15 April 2024

Full application of Schengen acquis and visit to EU external border: Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser visited Bulgaria and Romania on 15 and 16 April.

At the beginning of her visit, Minister Faeser met Bulgarian Minister of Interior Kalin Stoyanov in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The two ministers discussed the European Parliament’s adoption of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and its forthcoming implementation, as well as Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area on 31 March and the future lifting of checks at internal land borders.

As a country on the EU’s external border with Turkey, Bulgaria will play a major role in implementing the border procedures which are a core element of the CEAS. Minister Faeser said: “Internal borders without checks are possible only if the EU’s external borders are strongly protected. We will achieve this strong protection of the external borders and orderly asylum procedures with the new legal instruments.”

Ministers Faeser and Stoyanov then visited the border crossing point at Kapitan Andreevo on Bulgaria’s border with Turkey. The crossing is located right next to a Bulgarian village of the same name in the border region between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. It is Europe’s biggest land border crossing point and the second biggest land border crossing point worldwide, making it the most important point for cross-border traffic between Turkey and the EU.

Speaking at the border crossing, Minister Faeser said: “Open borders within the EU are possible only if the EU’s external borders are strongly protected. This, together with orderly asylum procedures and the observance of humanitarian standards, is what we will achieve with the new Common European Asylum System. I am aware of the great responsibility that this will place on Bulgaria due to its geographical location. It is therefore important to enlist the help of Frontex for this crucial task.”

Frontex has significantly stepped up the number of its officers in Bulgaria. Germany, too, has increased its presence there with Frontex experts at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. The overall number of Frontex officers in Bulgaria has risen from 124 to 274, of which 24 are German. Since 2017, among other equipment, thermal imaging cameras have been used to protect the Bulgarian-European border to Turkey.

Another important topic discussed was fighting illegal immigrant smuggling and organised crime.

Minister Faeser visits Romania

From Bulgaria, Minister Faeser continued directly to Bucharest, Romania. Here, she began her visit by meeting with the acting President of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, Alfred Simonis. After a tour of the Romanian Parliament building, she went to the Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs to meet Minister Marian-Cătălin Predoiu. As in Bulgaria, Schengen membership and the Common European Asylum System were central topics of their discussion, along with fighting migrant smuggling and organised crime.

Accompanied by Minister Predoiu, Minister Faeser visited the Romanian Border Police’s Operational Coordination Centre, where she was also shown around the new building of the Passenger Name Records Unit.

Speaking in Bucharest, Minister Faeser said: “We continue to support Romania’s and Bulgaria’s full accession to the Schengen area. Schengen is a core achievement of the process of European integration. Especially in times like these, we must demonstrate unity and show that together we are strong.”

Enlargement of the Schengen area

Both countries acceded to the Schengen area on 31 March. As a first step, border checks on persons were lifted at the internal air and sea borders. The EU countries had already agreed on this step at the end of December. A decision on lifting border checks at the internal land borders will be taken at a later stage.

Schengen area
The Schengen area was created to ensure the free movement of persons. Twenty-five of the 27 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, belong to the Schengen area.  The accession of two new members is a positive European signal. Germany supports both countries in having checks at their land borders lifted soon.

In Romania, Minister Faeser also met Silviu Vexlar, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania and Member of the Chamber of Deputies representing the Jewish communities. During this meeting, Minister Faeser highlighted the German Federal Government’s unwavering commitment to combating antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred.

As Germany’s minister responsible for sports, Minister Faeser also met the former German national football team player Thomas Hitzlsperger who was in Romania in his capacity as EURO 2024 Ambassador campaigning for the values of diversity and respect during the forthcoming UEFA European Football Championship.

Originally published at https://www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/kurzmeldungen/EN/2024/04/reise-bulgarien-rumaenien.html;jsessionid=1FB32E982AFB15C14522404D7D2FE598.live861

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