site.btaEuropean Commission Calls on EU Council to Allow Bulgaria into Schengen without Further Delay

European Commission Calls on EU Council to Allow Bulgaria into Schengen without Further Delay
European Commission Calls on EU Council to Allow Bulgaria into Schengen without Further Delay

In a press release on Wednesday, the European Commission calls upon the EU Council to take the necessary decisions without any further delay to allow Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to fully participate in the Schengen area. In a Communication adopted Wednesday, the Commission takes stock of the three Member States' strong record of achievements in the application of the Schengen rules.

For years, these Member States have significantly contributed to the well-functioning of the Schengen area, including during the time of the pandemic and more recently when faced with the unprecedented consequences of the war in Ukraine, the press release reads. While the three countries are already bound in part by the Schengen rules, the internal border controls with these Member States have not been lifted and therefore they do not enjoy the full benefits that come with being part of the Schengen area without internal border controls. 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.

According to the Commission, the Schengen area's enlargement will make Europe safer (through reinforced protection of the common external borders and effective police cooperation), more prosperous (by eliminating time lost at borders and facilitating people and business contacts), and more attractive (by significantly expanding the world's largest common area without internal border controls).

The Commission says further that Bulgaria has put in place a strong border management with efficient border surveillance and systematic border checks. Fight against cross-border crime is prioritised through international police cooperation, including with Europol. The Schengen Information System is well-established. Bulgaria also demonstrated that it has the necessary structures in place to ensure respect for fundamental rights, guaranteeing access to international protection, respecting the principle of non-refoulement.

Bulgaria and Romania successfully completed the Schengen evaluation process in 2011 and the Council recognised this in two separate Council Conclusions, but no Council decision on the lifting of internal borders has been taken for over 11 years. In March 2022, Bulgaria and Romania issued a Joint Declaration in the Council and invited a team of experts on a voluntary basis under the coordination of the Commission to look into the application of the latest developments of the Schengen rules.

This voluntary fact-finding mission, which took place in October 2022, confirmed that Bulgaria and Romania have not only continued implementing the new rules and tools, but that they have also substantially reinforced the overall application of the Schengen architecture in all its dimensions. Moreover, these two countries proved to have a model track record of implementation of the Schengen rules, the Commission recalls.

On October 18, the European Parliament adopted a resolution inviting the Council to allow Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen area.

On December 8, the Justice and Home Affairs Council is scheduled to vote on the full participation of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia in the Schengen area without internal border controls.




By 07:46 on 31.05.2023 Today`s news

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