Finland tempers its opposition to Schengen entry of Romania and Bulgaria

Finland has partially lifted its opposition to Bulgaria and Romania joining Europe’s Schengen passport-free travel zone, a Finnish EU minister said on Monday, but the Netherlands is still opposed and the measure needs backing from all members.

Finnish minister of EU affairs Alexander Stubb said his country had softened its approach and wants a compromise plan.

“That is a two-track approach. We would first open air and sea borders and then later on take a decision on land borders,” he told reporters.

Stubb said the aim was to open the air and sea borders with the two countries in March, and land borders would be discussed in July.

“We are trying to make sure the Schengen system is water-tight, and we are trying to make sure that issues linked to international crime, rule of law, and anti-corruption measures, are fulfilled,” Stubb said.

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