The European Commission has made another recommendation that three EU member states – Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria – should be admitted to the Schengen Area, arguing they have e met the membership criteria.
The Commission presented its State of Schengen Report 2022 on Tuesday, the first time it has presented such a report, following last year’s Schengen Strategy.
Romania applied to join the borderless area in 2011, but the Netherlands and France have expressed rule of law concerns, something that has frustrated successive governments.
The European Union’s Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johannsson said it was time for Romania to join the borderless zone in February during a visit to Romania, as Ukrainian refugees began pouring in. More than 1 million have crossed into Romania since the Russian invasion began; most moved on to other countries.
Tuesday’s Commission report again „reminds of the importance of completing the Schengen area” and calls upon the Council to adopt the decisions to allow the three EU members to formally become join, in view of the fact they have fulfilled all the criteria.”
Cyprus should also be admitted once it has completed the Schengen evaluation process, the Commission said.
The report will serve as the basis for discussions of European Parliament legislators and home affairs ministers in the Schengen Forum on 2 June followed by the Schengen Council on 10 June.
The report sets a list of priority actions for 2022-2023 to be addressed at both national and European levels.
These include implementing the new IT architecture and interoperability for border management, making full use of cross-border cooperation tools, ensuring systematic checks at the external borders of all travelers, ensuring that Frontex reaches the full potential of its mandate, lifting all long-lasting internal border controls, and adopting the revised Schengen Borders Code.