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February 9, 2023

Schengen accession go-ahead after French presidential election, experts say

Romania and Bulgaria have very low chances to join Schengen before presidential elections in France, scheduled next spring, according to Brussels experts quoted by daily ‘Adevarul’. Public safety is expected to take centre-stage in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s re-election campaign, while a high number of French people see the Roma community in Romania as a threat and are weary of the country’s joining the border-free zone, the experts believe. “Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession is not even on Sarkozy’s political agenda, he’s not even considering the possibility,” European Policy Centre expert Yves Pascouau told the newspaper. In his opinion, the waves of Roma migrants and the political scandal between France and the European Commission after Paris tried to deport Roma are additional reasons for Sarkozy to postpone Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession as much as possible.

The two countries’ accession to the border-free zone is to be discussed by the European Union’s Justice and Home Affairs Council in September, after several countries demanded the talks to be postponed until after the EC monitoring report on justice reform. France and Germany said they would make a decision on the matter after they see the report, while The Netherlands suggested that it could put off its decision until next year.

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