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Bulgaria and Romania on track to join the Schengen area by the end of the year

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Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the Schengen area could be achieved by the end of this year after the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, told the European Parliament that the European Commission and the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU were working in this direction. .

According to him, the accession of these two Balkan countries to the borderless Schengen area is one of the priorities of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Sinkevicius reiterated the European Commission’s comments that since 2011, Bulgaria and Romania have fulfilled all the necessary conditions for this process to be finalized.

He said that border controls between Romania and Bulgaria, on the one hand, and the Schengen area, on the other hand, lead to unnecessary constraints, stressing that it is urgent to complete the accession of both States to the EU visa-free travel zone. .

The European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said that in the first months of this year, migration pressure along the Western Balkans route decreased by 25 percent.

Sinkevicius noted that the European Commission had intensified its work with the Spanish presidency of the European Union in order to make a decision to admit these two states into the passport-free travel zone before the end of the year.

On July 12, the European Union Parliament adopted a new resolution calling on the EU Council to take seriously the two countries’ accession to the borderless zone before the end of this year.

In a statement, the Parliament noted that the new resolution, which noted among other things that the two Balkan countries met all the necessary conditions for this process to be carried out, was supported by a total of 526 deputies, while only 57 opposed it. MEPs.

The same source said that keeping the two countries outside the Schengen zone causes social and economic damage to both countries.

“Bulgarian and Romanian citizens face discrimination as they face delays, bureaucratic difficulties and additional costs when traveling or doing business abroad, compared to their Schengen area counterparts. » the resolution noted.

Recently, the Spanish Ambassador to Romania, José Antonio Hernández Pérez-Solorzano, stated that Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to Schengen could be discussed at Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) meeting which is expected to take place in October this year.

Austria and the Netherlands opposed Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen zone in December last year due to illegal immigration concerns.

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