Hungary backs full Schengen membership for Romania in unexpected move

Hungary will use its upcoming EU presidency to back Romania’s accession into the EU

From left, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Malta's Prime Minister Robert Abela, Netherland's Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Portugal's Prime Minister Luis Montenegro, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni speak during a roundtable meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Omar Havana)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

One of the important objectives of Hungary’s EU Council presidency is for Romania to achieve Schengen membership, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Péter Szijjártó said at a press conference in Târgu Mureș on Monday, May 27.

Szijjártó said that Hungary will do everything possible to achieve this goal.

“One of the important objectives of the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is that Romania obtains membership of the Schengen Area. It is also in Hungary’s national interest and in the interest of the whole nation…. Along the Romanian-Hungarian border, there are 10 border crossing points that can only be used once a week by citizens of the two countries because you are not a Schengen member state. Once you have joined Schengen, we can immediately have a closer connection between our citizens, and living along the borders will get a new meaning, cross-border communities will get a new meaning and new possibilities, which is why we will do our best to make sure you join the Schengen Area,” said Szijjártó.

On the question of Moldova’s accession to the European Union, the Hungarian minister said that his country supports this desire of Chișinău and will give it all the support it needs to make progress towards integration. He added that there is close cooperation between the two countries at a political and economic level.

“Technically, we offer all our support to the Republic of Moldova so that, as soon as possible and in the biggest steps possible, it can make progress on the road to integration,” said the Hungarian government official.

Although Bulgaria and Romania officially joined the Schengen Area on March 31, for now, that only means free travel via air and sea within the EU, but the border controls for land crossings remain in effect. While in practice this means minor inconveniences for private citizens, the main border crossings between Hungary and Romania are clogged with trucks waiting up to 15 to 20 hours to be checked.

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