Bulgaria and Romania may soon become the newest members of the Schengen Zone after, according to a Euractiv report, both Balkan states will be admitted to Schengen in two phases from October this year.
According to Euractiv, in October border controls at the airports will be lifted while from January 2024, ground controls will no longer be kept in place, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The report notes that based on Bulgarian sources, Brussels is preparing to include both states in the borderless area in October this year if they show willingness for continuing reforms.
“According to the publication, the biggest obstacle to Schengen membership has been removed – the objections of the Netherlands, which has vetoed the accession for years,” Euractiv claims.
Bulgaria and Romania are waiting for years now to acquire membership in the Schengen Zone.
In December last year, European Union Interior Ministers supported the accession of Croatia to the Schengen Area, but Austria and the Netherlands voted against Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to this travel-free zone, citing illegal migration concerns.
“It is not right for a system that is not working in many places to be expanded at this time,” said Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner, pointed out back then.
In May this year, the European Commission urged the Council to allow both of these Balkan countries to become members of the Schengen Zone this year.
The comments came through the second State of Schengen Report, published on May 16.
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Nickolay Denkov, said that his cabinet will continue its work so the much sought-after process can be finalized by the end of this year.
Denkov stressed that his cabinet will work towards systematic changes regarding border control management, among others.
He said that he will start a “campaign against the disinformation around Bulgaria’s adoption of the euro”.
The European Union Parliament President, Roberta Metsola, stressed that she wants to convince authorities in Austria of the further expansion to the Schengen Area.
Regarding the migration issue, Metsola expressed her hopes that an agreement on asylum will soon be reached.
In April this year, more than 100 youth organizations from European states called on for the membership of Bulgaria and Romania in the Schengen Zone.
In addition, the organizations, including Romanian Youth Council, adopted a motion called “Freedom of movement for all: Romania and Bulgaria in the Schengen Zone,” during the General Assembly of the European Youth Forum (YFJ) that was held in Brussels.
Previously, a new publication from KPMG Romania has shown that an estimated volume of over 46,000 tonnes of CO2 per year is calculated by road vehicles while waiting for border checks as a result of the postponement of Schengen admission for both territories.
Source: Schengen Visa News