EP: Bulgaria and Romania should join Schengen without delay

The approved report says that partial membership is not an option

Photo: EPA

The European Parliament on Tuesday backed a S&D led report, calling for Romania and Bulgaria to become full members of the Schengen area without delay. Both countries meet the technical requirements to become members but have been blocked for political reasons in the European Council.

“With this S&D led report, the Parliament went beyond its repeated calls for immediate accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen area by insisting on full accession with all borders – land, maritime and air. By overwhelming majority, we have categorically rejected partial accession, as it not only lacks any legally sound justification, but also entails a number of economic, social and political downsides for the whole EU, PES president and S&D MEP Sergei Stanishev, who authored the report, said. The document was approved by 514 votes to 107 and 38 abstentions.

The move to include Romania and Bulgaria in the Schengen Zone has been undertaken by the EP members in June 2011 for the first time. Since then, the MEPs have showed their support several times. However, a final decision must be taken unanimously by the European Council, which will be chaired by Romania in the first part of 2019. Romania and Bulgaria are among the only four EU countries that are still not part of the Schengen, alongside Croatia and Cyprus, not including the UK and Ireland that chose to opt-out.

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