Brussels wants to expand the Schengen area to Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania

The European Commission and the European Parliament have agreed to integrate these three countries into the European area of ​​free movement, but it will take a unanimous vote of the Member States to validate this enlargement.

The European Commission again called on EU countries on Wednesday 16 November to accept the full integration of Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania into the Schengen area, a vast area of ​​free movement allowing travel without checks to borders. The Commission asks the Council of the EU, which brings together the 27 Member States, to “take the necessary decisions without further delay to allow (these three countries) to participate fully in the Schengen area“, According to a press release.

The European executive has been calling for this enlargement for a long time, also with the support of the European Parliament. But some reluctant member states are calling for progress in the fight against corruption. EU justice and interior ministers are due to vote on the matter at a meeting scheduled for December 8. The unanimity of the 27 is necessary to authorize the lifting of border controls with these three countries.

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The Commission stressed on Wednesday that they met the necessary rules and membership criteria. The removal of internal borders has as its corollary a strengthening of the external borders of the Schengen area: the Member States on its borders have the responsibility of organizing rigorous controls at these borders. It also involves police cooperation between all members to fight organized crime or terrorism, with data sharing.

While Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are already partially subject to the rules of the Schengen area, internal border controls with these EU member countries have not been lifted and they therefore do not enjoy the benefitslinked to this participation, the Commission pointed out on Wednesday.

A Schengen area “widened without internal border controls will make Europe more secure, through the reinforced protection of our common external borders and efficient police cooperation, more prosperous, by eliminating the time wasted at borders and by facilitating business relations“, pleads the European executive.

The Schengen area, one of the most concrete achievements of the European Union, is an area in which it is possible to travel without a passport and where border controls have in principle been abolished. It brings together 26 countries representing 420 million inhabitants, including 22 EU members and four associated states: Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

SEE ALSO – Gérald Darmanin: France “does not want to humiliate anyone”, concerning the Schengen area

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