Romania and Bulgaria to join Schengen area

The European Parliament called on the European Commission to accept Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen area.

editor: REMIX NEWS

In a vote non-binding to the European Commission, the European Parliament approved with a large majority (514 for, 107 against and 38 abstentions) a call to speed up Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen area.

The Schengen area – named after the Luxembourg town the agreement was signed in 1985 – comprises 22 member states of the European Union that have effectively abolished passport and border controls between their inner borders. Four more member states – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania – are also obliged to join the area as soon as they fulfill criteria, pertaining to the control of external borders.

The previous plan was that Bulgaria and Romania should join the area in two steps, first with regard to air and water transport and only in a second stage would land travel be added. This is what the vote changed to a single-step procedure.

“Parliament has today left behind the issue in which Bulgaria and Romania asked for immediate inclusion in the Schengen area. We have asked that joining should simultaneously happen along air, water and land borders. We categorically reject a partial joining, that not only lacks any legal foundation but also has economic, social and political drawbacks for the entire Union,” Bulgarian MEP coordinating the issue, Sergei Stanishev said.

The European Parliament first approved the countries’ Schengen membership in 2011 pending border control requirements. The final decision will have to be a unanimous vote of the EU’s relevant ministers.


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