Bulgaria, Croatia and Romani all set to join Schengen Area
The European Commission said that Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania are now all set to to join the passport free Schengen Area after giving proof that they have met all the necessary criteria for the inclusion. Schengen allows cross border travel for the visitors to its member nations, without the requirement of a passport or pass through border controls. The Schengen area currently includes 26 nations, including 22 European Union countries, and almost 420 million citizens.
“It’s high time to say welcome,” Ylva Johansson, the EU’s home affairs commissioner, said as he unveiled a new report that favours the readiness of the three countries. “The wait has been long, I should say, too long. Expectations are high, rightly so, from authorities but not at least citizens.”
“Schengen has boosted the EU’s economy and lifted standards of living since it was established back in 1995,” Johansson said, as he called on the member states to take a “decision in all our interest and approve the pending candidacies without any further delay”.
“The three countries have the tools, structures, and procedures in place,” Johansson said. For joining the Schengen, the requirements include the application of common rules, proper management of nation’s external borders, sharing of security information and efficient police cooperation.
Croatia had successfully completed its evaluation process in 2020 and then received a positive assessment for joining the Schengen in December 2021. For Bulgaria and Romania, the wait for joining Schengen has stretched over a decade. After having declared readiness of these countries to join Schengen in 2011, the Commission has been repeatedly calling on member states to grant admission to the three countries. After years of opposition, this year French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave their support to the membership. “Schengen has survived the turbulence of recent years. These challenges have been surmounted because of a shared European spirit. And this spirit must continue,” Johansson said.