Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Ministers of EU member states have agreed on Friday to give Romania and Bulgaria read-only access to the Schengen Visa Information System, a database containing the biometric information of those requesting visas to the area of free movement, in force since the end of 2011.
This decision implements a series of System provisions, according to a document made public after the ministers’ meeting, according to Sofia Globe.
These provisions will come into force after Romania and/or Bulgaria passes complete tests ran by eu-LISA – the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice – and the European Commission is notified in this sense.
Likewise, Romania and Bulgaria can invite experts from member states and the EC to examine the implementation of these provisions, the ministers agreed.
The two countries joined the European Union in January 2007, however none of them is part of the Schengen Area.
Their accession is being blocked by member states who reproach them with failing to meet EU standards in the fight against corruption and organised crime.
European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker recently urged that Romania and Bulgaria be welcomed within Schengen.