The Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union will seek to obtain unanimity of votes at the Summit in December regarding Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen area, Czech Minister of EU Affairs Mikulas Bek stated in the plenary meeting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The Czech high official said that, in past years, the Schengen area felt challenges, such as the wave of migrants in 2015-2016 and the consequences of the current conflict in Ukraine. In a debate dedicated to the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area, the Czech Minister said that the Czech Presidency of the EU Council believes that Schengen expansion is a fundamental element and is committed to making progress so that Romania and Bulgaria join this area. The voting of an EP resolution on this topic is scheduled to take place in the plenary meeting over 20-17 October.
The Czech official stated that several visits to be carried out by European experts to Romania and Bulgaria will begin next week.
In his turn, European Commission Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas brought to mind that Romania and Bulgaria have met the technical criteria for joining the Schengen area, for a long time, something known since 2011. He said that in the past 35 years, an entire architecture for the Schengen area has been constructed and this architecture must be improved. The EC Vice-President added that the Europeans’ support for Schengen proves its importance, mentioning that Romania and Bulgaria have been waiting for a Council decision for over 11 years. Margaritis Schinas wanted to praise the Romanian and Bulgarian partners for the manner in which they managed the Union’s external borders in the face of a large wave of Ukrainian refugees.
He added that the two countries remain committed in enforcing the Schengen acquis and ensuring security at the external borders, mentioning that the upcoming visit of the European experts does not mean a reassessment of the preparation of the two countries, but only an opportunity for the member states to receive the latest updates regarding the application of the Schengen rules in Romania and Bulgaria.
The representative of the EU Executive concluded that the European Commission reiterates its support for Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen, adding that the opportunity to take this historic decision shall take place in December.