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11 Dec 2018

European Parliament Votes to Admit Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen Area

European Parliament Votes to Admit Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen AreaAn overwhelming majority of the European Parliament members have voted today in favor of a resolution that calls on the admission of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen zone.  The resolution requires from the European Council to act swiftly, so both countries join the EU’s border-less zone as soon as possible.

The report, drafted by the former Bulgarian prime minister Sergey Stanishev, clearly states that “all the necessary conditions for the full application of the Schengen acquis were met by Bulgaria and Romania in 2011.”

It also “regrets the fact that in the seven years since, the Council has failed to take a decision on the full application of the Schengen acquis in Bulgaria and Romania despite the repeated calls to this end by both the Commission and Parliament”.

Moreover, it objects the idea of a two-phase accession of Romania and Bulgaria, claiming it would negatively affect the future enlargement of the Schengen territory.

The report was approved by the members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament a month ago. Now that the European Parliament members have also approved it, the European Council must vote unanimously in order for both countries to join the Area.

The European Parliament members called on the admission of Romania and Bulgaria in the Schengen Zone in June 2011 for the first time. Since then, the MEPs have showed their support several times. However, a final decision must be taken unanimously by the European Council, which will be chaired by Romania in the first part of 2019.

Romania and Bulgaria are among the only four EU countries that are still not part of the Schengen Zone, alongside Croatia and Cyprus, not including the UK and Ireland that chose to opt-out.

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