After several failed attempts to become a member of the free movement Schengen area, Romania could be advantaged by a new package of rules the European Parliament approved on Wednesday.
The European Parliament on Wednesday approved the Schengen Governance Package, two sets of regulations related to a new mechanism meant to assess the observance of the free movement area rules in each member country and to the temporary setting up of checks on internal borders in exceptional situations. According to the package, inspection teams will pay unannounced visits to monitor any attempt to introduce illegal verifications at the internal borders.
The second set of regulations stipulates that the temporary re-introduction of checks on internal borders is a “last resort” measure. In the event of a serious threat to internal security and public order, checks could be re-introduced for 30 days and extended for a maximum period of 6 months. When certain unexpected events require immediate action (for instance a terrorist attack) member states can re-introduce unilateral border checks for a maximum of 10 days. Any extension of this period must be monitored at EU level. The Schengen candidate and member states will be assessed in the same way and will abide by the same rules. The package mentions that “migration and crossing of external borders by a great number of third countries nationals should not be considered a threat to public order and internal security.”
The two sets of regulations could be approved by the European Council this autumn. The Mediafax news agency reports that several Romanian euro MPs have hailed the adoption of the Schengen Governance Package. The Liberals expressed hope that the implementation of this package of measures, which has triggered heated polemics over the past 2 years within the European Council and the European Parliament, would boost Romania’s negotiations for Schengen accession. The Social Democrats believe that the new rules will put an end to the double standards that Romania and Bulgaria were faced with in their attempt to join the Schengen area.
In turn, the Liberal Democrats say that Romania is better off than many other countries in terms of border security, which could be an additional argument in favour of Romania’s Schengen accession by the end of the year. Romania’s and Bulgaria’s Schengen accession has so far been blocked due to reservations expressed by some states, which called for a radical reform of the Romanian judiciary. We recall that Romania complies with all technical requirements for Schengen accession.