Croatia to affix Schengen however EU ministers block Bulgaria and Romania –


Croatia will be a part of the EU’s passport-free Schengen space in January after EU residence affairs ministers accredited their utility on Thursday (8 December) however once more blocked purposes by Bulgaria and Romania.

Austria blocked each Bulgaria and Romania’s purposes whereas the Netherlands opposed Romania’s Schengen bid however accredited Romania’s.

The EU’s borderless Schengen space is the world’s largest free journey zone and is commonly hailed as one of many high achievements of European integration. Nonetheless, some EU international locations have reinstated border checks because the migration disaster of 2015.

Austrian Inside Minister Gerhard Karner informed reporters in Brussels earlier than the assembly that Austria had recorded 100,000 unlawful border crossings to date this 12 months, together with 75,000 individuals who had not been beforehand registered on the continent.

Croatia, the most recent nation to affix the EU, in July 2013, will even be a part of the eurozone in January and its strategy of EU integration has moved a lot quicker than that of Romania and Bulgaria, which turned EU members in 2007 however have achieved little progress in the direction of additional integration since then.

Although not a shock, the choice to dam Schengen membership, which all EU members are required to affix as a part of their treaty commitments, is a significant blow for the 2 international locations and was met with dismay by the European Fee, which has urged EU international locations to approve all three candidates.

Romania and Bulgaria “are fulfilling all the necessities. They’ve been ready for a very long time. The residents of Bulgaria and Romania need to be totally a part of the Schengen space,” Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for residence affairs, informed journalists after the assembly.

“In terms of the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, we’re not united and that makes us very weak and that makes me additionally unhappy,” she added, noting that additional efforts will probably be made to get them into Schengen earlier than the tip of this Fee’s mandate in 2024.

The EU government has said that Bulgaria and Romania have been prepared to affix Schengen since 2011 however a handful of states initially blocked their membership bids due to issues about corruption and migration.

“Two member states expressed reservations however they don’t have any explicit issues with relations to Schengen,” Bulgarian Inside Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev informed reporters following the assembly.

Earlier this week, Sofia threatened retaliatory measures in opposition to Austria and the Netherlands if its Schengen path had been blocked.

Final month, a big majority within the European Parliament known as for all three international locations to affix Schengen, describing the veto on Romania and Bulgaria as “discriminatory”.

“Romania and Bulgaria are able to be Schengen members and I’m very grateful to each international locations for all their work,” stated Czech Inside Minister Vít Rakušan, on behalf of the EU Council’s presidency. “I’m satisfied their time will come quickly.”

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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