Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania are prepared to join the Schengen Area as full members, according to the European Union Commission, which has urged the Council to act swiftly and decisively.
The Commission stated in a press release dated November 16 that Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia have contributed to the success of the Schengen Area for years and that allowing them to join is a decision that has been long anticipated.
According to the Commission's statement, "Becoming fully part of the Schengen area is a requirement for these Member States and they should therefore be permitted to do so given that they fulfil the conditions."
The Commission claims that an expanded Schengen Area without internal border controls will increase Europe's safety, prosperity, and attractiveness.
The Commission emphasizes Bulgaria's excellent border control, which is made possible by its effective border administration. Additionally, Bulgaria prioritizes international collaboration in the fight against transnational crime and has a well-established Schengen Information System.
The Commission further emphasized that Bulgaria has demonstrated that it has the necessary procedures in place to provide, among other things, access to international protection and respect for fundamental rights.
The Commission stated that Romania has effective and high-quality border administration. The Commission also emphasized that Romania, like Bulgaria, has prioritized the fight against illicit immigration and human trafficking. In Romania, the Schengen Information System is well-established.
The review process for membership in the Schengen Area in 2021 has been successfully completed by both Bulgaria and Romania. Although the two countries have demonstrated that they have implemented the Schengen rules as required by the Borders Code ever since they started their journey towards Schengen accession, no decision on expanding the external Schengen borders beyond the borders of these three countries has been made in the last 11 years.
The EU Parliament's members have already pushed the EU's member states to eliminate prejudice and grant Bulgaria and Romania access to Schengen. MEPs urged the EU to make a new decision for Bulgaria and Croatia by the end of this year last month.
Regarding Croatia, the Council declared in December 2021 that the nation has met all requirements for membership in the Schengen Area. The Commission emphasized that Croatia has made significant efforts to guarantee that the requirements for fundamental rights are upheld at the external border controls.
Additionally, Croatia established an Independent Monitoring Mechanism, making it the first EU Member State to do so.
Members of the European Parliament have backed Croatia's entry into the Schengen area in addition to Bulgaria and Romania. MEPs approved the removal of the internal border checks between Croatia and the Schengen Free Movement Area last week with 534 votes in favor.
Croatia has met all requirements for membership, according to MEPs, who encouraged the Council to expedite the process and reach a decision by the end of 2022.
By fLEXI tEAM