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January 30, 2023
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European Commission: Romania Should Enter Schengen Area

The European Commission (EC) restated its suggestion for Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania to be admitted to Schengen because they meet all the necessary conditions for participation. It is not the first time that the illusion of Schengen has been ignited for Romania. The European institutions promise or urge Romania to enter the economic space each year, yet nothing happens.

Can we still talk about a Schengen membership certificate for Romania? After years of discussing Romania’s entry into the Schengen area, the European Commission recommends that Romania and other European countries such as Croatia and Bulgaria have an international passport. Given that this scenario occurred last year, what is the outcome this time, deception or reward?

The document mentions “the importance of completing the Schengen area and calls on the Council to take decisions allowing Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria to join this area if all criteria are met formally. The same is true for Cyprus once it has completed the Schengen evaluation process.”

The Schengen report will serve as the foundation for discussions between MEPs and home affairs ministers at the Schengen Forum on June 2 and the upcoming Schengen Council on June 10.

The new annual Schengen cycle begins with the State of Schengen Report 2022. The process includes a regular ‘health-check’ on Schengen, allowing problems to be identified early on to ensure shared responsibility and promote the implementation of appropriate measures.

The report establishes a list of priority actions for 2022-2023 that must be addressed at both the national and European levels, including implementing the new IT architecture and interoperability for border management; fully utilizing cross-border cooperation tools; ensuring systematic checks at all travellers’ external borders; ensuring Frontex reaches the full potential of its mandate; lifting all long-standing internal border controls, and adopting the revised Schengen Borders Code.

The report also emphasizes the importance of completing the Schengen area and urges the Council to adopt decisions allowing Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria to formally join it, given that all criteria have been met. The same will be valid for Cyprus after completing the Schengen evaluation process.

Schengen Membership

The Schengen Area is a grouping of 26 European countries that have officially abolished all forms of passport and border control at their mutual borders. For the most part, the region serves as a single jurisdiction for international travel, with a unified visa policy.

Out of the 27 EU member states, 22 participate in the Schengen Area, and only four EU countries aren’t included, which are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania.

What is the advantage of being a Schengen member? Once a state joins the Schengen zone, travelling from one state to another will feel like travelling within the country. The freedom of movement is at its peak, with goods and capital moving freely, saving tourists and transportation companies time and money and bringing the state an economic advantage.

Even though Romania has completed all the necessary steps in order to obtain membership, it didn’t pass the process. The completion of the Schengen Area accession process is subject to a unanimous decision of the Member States at the level of the European Union Council.

In the current climate of security threats, completing the process of Romania’s access to the Schengen Area appears to be a necessity. However, it is rumoured that Romanians will never enter the Schengen area, no matter how many proposals are made by the EU. The reasons? Most importantly, and probably the only one worth mentioning here, is corruption.

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