European Parliament backs report calling for Romania, Bulgaria accession to Schengen

European Parliament

The European Parliament (EP) adopted on Tuesday, December 11, the non-legislative report calling for admission of Romania and Bulgaria as full members in the Schengen area.

The report was adopted by 514 votes to 107, with 38 abstentions, local Digi24 reported. The final decision on whether Romania and Bulgaria can become part of the Schengen area requires a unanimous vote in the Council by EU ministers.

The S&D Group in the EP said in a press release that both Romania and Bulgaria “meet the technical requirements to become members but have been blocked for political reasons in the European Council.”

“We cannot allow double standards to exist in the Schengen area. Romania and Bulgaria have met the full list of requirements needed to become members and should be allowed to join without any further delay. The idea of partial accession is a complete non-starter. We cannot have one set of rules for the majority of member states and different ones for another- in the EU there are no second-class members or citizens. National governments who are blocking the accession for political reasons must change course and see that continued delay is damaging for the whole EU,” S&D Group vice-president Josef Weidenholzer said.

The European Parliament gave its green light for Bulgaria and Romania to join the Schengen area in June 2011 and has reiterated its position several times afterwards. In late-November this year, EP president Antonio Tajani said the process of accession to Schengen should be accelerated in Romania’s case.

“In order to better secure our borders and our security, some countries that are still awaiting decision need to join Schengen as soon as possible,” Tajani said.

Then, last week, European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker expressed hopes that Romania will be become a member of the Schengen area by the end of the current mandate of the Commission, which would mean October 2019.

Bulgaria may join Schengen area next year

Irina Marica, [email protected]