Romania’s accession to Schengen will not happen this year, and the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council meeting on December 4-5, which includes the agenda item for Romania and Bulgaria’s entry into the European free movement area, will not involve a vote, according to government sources cited by HotNews.ro.
The accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area is on the agenda of the December 4-5 JHA Council, exactly as it was in December 2022 when Vienna blocked Bucharest. However, government sources say there will be no vote, as the Netherlands, where recent elections took place, has not given its approval for Bulgaria’s accession, which is linked to Romania’s.
“There will be no vote (at the JHA Council on December 5 – ed.), and the subject will remain in suspense until the situation in the Netherlands is clarified. Romanians and Bulgarians, supported by the Spanish, are pushing for the issue of Romania and Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen to remain suspended on the agenda,” said the government sources.
According to the same sources, authorities in Bucharest will try to convene an extraordinary JHA Council after mid-December to discuss a two-step accession, with entry into air borders from March 2024. This is a positive scenario.
The Netherlands opposed Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen, and Austria opposed the entry into the free movement area for both Romania and Bulgaria.
Elections have just taken place in the Netherlands, and the surprise winner was the far-right party of anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders. Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), exploited widespread Dutch frustration about migration, promising “closed borders.”