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30 May 2018

EP urges EU council to admit Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Area

EP urges EU council to admit Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen AreaThe European Parliament once again has urged the European Union council to admit Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen zone. Both countries became part of the European Union on January 2007 and received the invitation to join the Schengen area at the same time, however, since then, the issue has not been settled.

On November last year, the decision on Bulgaria and Romania accession to the Schengen area was postponed for 2018. According to a report of the European Commission published at the time both countries had reached substantial programs on the way to the European visa-free zone, but they still needed to take additional efforts for it. That is why Romania received 12 new instructions and Bulgaria 17, mostly concerning securing more independence for courts, combating cross-border crime and corruption.

This decision was sudden since just two month before, the European Commission called on the Council of EU to admit Bulgaria and Romania in the Schengen zone. Such a call came just a few days after the  President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker in his annual speech on the EU situation, called for both countries to be immediately accepted to the Schengen visa-free travel zone.

If we want to strengthen the protection of our external borders, then we need to open the Schengen area of free movement to Bulgaria and Romania immediately, Jean-Claude Juncker said at the time.

Both countries have been raising the issue in every meeting with leaders of the Schengen Area member states.

On January this year, the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov met the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that the EU member states will see what efforts Bulgaria is making in this regard and assessed that the task of protecting the EU external border it extremely difficult “especially at the Bulgarian-Turkish border”.

Whereas, the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis met the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on April, who highlighted France’s support for Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area, stressing that there is no blockage on the part of France to Romania’s prospects of becoming a member of the Schengen Area.

The European Parliament urged the European Union council to admit Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen zone again on May 29, through a press release in the plenary session of May 29, that is being held in Strasburg.

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