European Parliament calls for Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen area by the end of 2023

Published on: 12 July 2023

The European Parliament adopted a resolution today, Wednesday, July 12, 2023, urging the European Council to accept the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen Area by the end of this year, with a majority of 526 votes in favor, 57 against, and 42 abstentions.

Members of the European Parliament emphasized in an official statement that Romania and Bulgaria have fulfilled all the necessary requirements for joining the Schengen Area. They also expressed their regret regarding the European Council’s decision in December 2022 to reject the accession of both countries to Schengen without providing any legal justifications concerning the membership criteria for the area. They emphasized the right of all EU member states to join Schengen once they meet the required standards and conditions.

The statement issued by the European Parliament explained that the delay in the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to Schengen places additional social and economic pressures on the residents of both countries. It highlighted the bureaucratic difficulties and additional costs faced by citizens of both countries when traveling abroad, as well as the negative environmental impacts resulting from this delay, such as increased carbon dioxide emissions due to the waiting of thousands of vehicles daily at the borders, which the statement described as irreparable damages.

On December 8, 2022, the European Council discussed a proposal to grant Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania membership in the Schengen Area, but the Council agreed only on Croatia’s accession, while rejecting the membership of Romania and Bulgaria.The Schengen Area currently includes 27 countries, where all citizens and residents enjoy freedom of movement and travel between them without facing any border controls. The area includes all EU member states except Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Ireland. Among the twenty-seven countries in the Schengen Area, there are also four non-EU member states, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

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