Finland joins France, Germany to oppose Romania, Bulgaria

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Finland joined France and Germany Thursday in opposing Romania and Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen zone, a Finnish government spokesman said.

"Finland's committee for European affairs took the official position in a meeting last week," spokesman Mikko Norros told AFP, adding that they decided to announce it to coincide with the visit of French European Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez to Helsinki Thursday.

Wauquiez said Finland's decision was significant.

"It is very important for us that today for the first time the Finnish government said officially that they have doubts that the governments of Romania and Bulgaria are ready to join Schengen now," he said.

At a joint press conference, Finland's minister for european affairs and immigration Astrid Thors, said Romania and Bulgaria had done good work so far in meeting the requirements for joining the Schengen zone, but that more had to be done.

"Both countries still need to take concrete actions to strengthen the battle against corruption and crime," she said.

The Schengen zone allows free movement between 25 European countries, making visas and passports unnecessary between their borders, putting the onus on states on the outside edge of the zone.

© 2011 AFP

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