MEPs from Romania and Bulgaria are advocating for a united effort to join the Schengen Area, including joint initiatives to highlight the importance of their accession. During a conference in Sofia, Bulgarian MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk revealed that both countries plan to hold conferences in their respective nations to underscore the significance of Schengen membership. They aim to join the Schengen Zone in the autumn of 2023, recognizing that individual efforts may result in economic and political setbacks for both countries.
However, not all Member States support their accession. Austria voted against Romania joining the Schengen area in January 2023. Austria had previously announced it would do so, while the Netherlands voted against it as it opposed Bulgaria’s entry. On the other hand, Croatia has received a favorable vote and joined the Schengen Area this year.
Both countries have high hopes to join the Schengen Zone by this year, emphasizing the countries' contribution to preventing illegal migration to the Union.
The Council of the European Union for Justice and Home Affairs is currently underway in Brussels, but the expansion of the Schengen Area is not on the agenda. Romania's objective of joining the Schengen Area in 2023 remains unchanged, as stated by Romanian Interior Minister Lucian Bode, despite Austria's ongoing opposition
During a recent debate on this topic, Minister Bode reiterated the importance of completing the process of Schengen expansion with Romania's accession to the Schengen Area this year, in 2023. He emphasized that the arguments in favor of Romania's accession are well-known and highlighted the increased security of the external borders of the European Union and the Schengen Area, as well as the security of EU citizens, as compelling reasons for Romania's accession.
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