Romania and Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen Area is on the agenda of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council on December 5. The issue has been placed back on the agenda despite Austria repeatedly stating that it has not changed its position.
This issuea appeared on JHA agenda in December 2022 as well, but back then Austria blocked Romania’s entry into the European free movement area.
“Now in Brussels: Romania and Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen Area on the agenda of the JHA Council on December 5! The mention in the Council’s agenda is almost identical to last year’s, from the session where Austria’s veto kept us waiting at the gates of Europe for another year. It’s the last chance for our country, and we’ll see if all the pressure exerted by the Commission, the Parliament, and each of us has worked, and Romania will finally become a part of the European free movement area, as it rightfully deserves since 2011,” USR MEP Vlad Gheorghe announced.
Political sources told otNews.ro that the topic has been included on the JHA agenda at Romania’s request, and the discussions are “advanced” with “progress being made.”
Government sources claim that “Romania will make the best decision” if it asks Spain, which holds the EU presidency, to either keep or remove the issue from the agenda if the two countries opposing through vetoes, Austria and the Netherlands, are not convinced.
The decision to request inclusion on the JHA Council’s agenda for the accession of Romania and Bulgaria comes in the context where the Spanish EU presidency, as well as the European Commission, have repeatedly announced that the two countries must be admitted to Schengen.
Recently, the most significant European political groups, the European People’s Party and the Party of European Socialists, have called for the acceptance of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen Area through resolutions.
In July of this year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution indirectly making Austria a problem for the European Union, as its veto is considered to strike at the foundation of the European construction.
Beyond the fact that Romanian and Bulgarian citizens are discriminated against, and there are economic costs, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) draw attention to the fact that “the right of veto over Romania and Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen Area could lead to the emergence of anti-European sentiment in these countries, thus resulting in a decrease in trust in the EU project and its institutions.”
MEPs call on the Commission and the Council to make the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to Schengen possible by the end of this year.
In a Facebook post two weeks ago, Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu stated that he would “do everything in his power” to convince the current government in the Netherlands and the right-wing government in Austria, which have blocked our country’s accession to the free movement area, of Romania’s right to be in Schengen.
Last week, during a visit to Chisinau, the President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, stated that the decision of his country’s government to block Romania and Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen Area is “wrong.