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  • Borislav Ivanov

Swedish Parliament Greenlights Schengen Membership for Bulgaria & Romania

The Social Democrats, one of the two parties in the government that opposed the enlargement of Schengen to Bulgaria and Romania, have changed their position and will give their support to the authorities in Stockholm to back such a decision.

Together with the right-wing Eurosceptic Sweden Democrats, party representatives disagreed with the state of the fight against corruption and organized crime in these countries. But the Social Democrats' agreement ensures a majority in Sweden's Riksdag (parliament) when this proposal is suggested by the government.

The reason is that the Cabinet has presented to the MPs of the Justice Committee a set of opinions of different authorities on this issue. The Social Democrats had stated that they were not allowed to see the analyses of the relevant authorities on the effect of the abolishment of passport controls at the internal borders of Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia.

Ardalan Shekarabi, the Social Democrats' legal affairs spokesman, was quoted today by public broadcaster SVT as saying that "the authorities do not seem to have anything against enlargement, and in this context, we are ready to stand behind the Swedish position on Schengen enlargement so that Bulgaria and Romania can enter.”

Shekarabi adds that the party will continue to oppose EU proposals if they do not take into account serious analyses of their impact on Swedish interests.

He has reminded that this position is particularly important because, from 1 January, Sweden takes over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, and in the next half year, we have to look at what is important for the country in a wider context, not just whether the presidency has been successful.

The vote is expected at the last meeting of the year of the Council of EU interior and justice ministers on 8-9 December. The Swedish minister looks set to appear at the meeting with parliamentary approval, while the position of the Netherlands and Austria is not yet clear, and there are doubts about that of Denmark.

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