On Wednesday the European Commission called on the Council to greenlight as soon as possible Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia’s entry into the border-free Schengen area
The Commission has come up with a strategy for consolidating the exterior
borders of Schengen and for avoiding the border checking procedures many
countries introduced starting 2015 and which they subsequently stepped up
during the pandemic. According to Ylva Iohannson, the EU commissioners for home
affairs, all the EU members have the obligation to be part of the Schengen area
when they meet the necessary criteria. We now have three countries, which are
meeting these criteria and we are expecting them to be welcomed in this area.
We are waiting for a decision in this respect to be taken by the Council so
that Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia become full-fledged members.
Romania and Bulgaria, which
have been EU members since 2007 should have joined the area in March 2011 but their
entry was prevented by some countries, which blamed the two states for issues
affecting their legal systems and for their endemic corruption. The head of the
Romanian state Klaus Iohannis said that Schengen accession is Bucharest's major
political objective, although the health crisis has seriously affected the
Klaus Iohannis: "With respect to Schengen, under the developments
generated by the health crisis and the measures taken by some member states,
the functionality of the Schengen area has been severely affected.
Nevertheless, joining the Schengen area remains a major political objective for
Romania and the commitment that our country has assumed through the EU
accession treaty. Romania actually has been meeting the accession criteria for
more than 10 years now being an example in terms of ensuring security for the
European Union. We hope our consistent efforts are going to be recognized soon and
a solution for the completion of the process will be found in due time."
In order to tighten control at
the areas' external borders, the European Union is relying on the deployment of
the new permanent contingent FRONTEX, which is supposed to include 10 thousand
border guards by 2027.
The bloc intends to make its
information systems for registering entries and exits from the area fully
interoperable by 2023. In a bid to reform its asylum granting system, among
other things the European Commission has proposed a new procedure of
registering the migrants arriving in the bloc. 26 countries with a total of 420
million people are presently making the Schengen area. Out of these 22 are EU
members and four are associated countries like Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and