Finland agrees to two-track Schengen for Bulgaria, Romania
(HELSINKI) - Finland has dropped its opposition to membership of Bulgaria and Romania in Europe's passport-free Schengen area, allowing them to join in two stages, Finnish EU Affairs Minister Alexander Stubb said Tuesday.
"We took a position ... to support the Franco-German compromise proposal whereby we'd open up air and sea borders in March and then land borders in July," Stubb told AFP.
In September, Finland and The Netherlands blocked the entry of Bulgaria and Romania into Schengen at a meeting of EU interior ministers.
Schengen's enlargement requires unanimous consent, and The Netherlands remains opposed.
Schengen, an area stretching from Portugal to Poland through which road, rail and even air travellers need only basic identity papers to move freely, has come under growing strain over fears about illegal migration.
Romania has accused the Dutch centre-right government of being held hostage to the far right, as it rules with the backing of Geert Wilders' Freedom Party.
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