Bulgaria and Romania were denied joining Schengen

The hopes of Bulgaria and Romania of joining the Schengen visa zone had a major setback on June 9 2011 when European Union justice and home affairs ministers decided to postpone a decision on the applications.

The postponement decision came just a day after a large majority in the European Parliament voted in favour of allowing the two countries into the visa zone, arguing that they had met the technical criteria for membership.

However, critics such as Gerd Leers, immigration minister of the Netherlands, said that it was too early to make a decision and his country wanted proof that Bulgaria and Romania had achieved a sustainable level of standards to enable them to be part of Schengen.

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