Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia should join the Schengen borderless area, the European Union’s Home Affairs Commissioner, Ylva Johansson said Thursday.
Freedom of movement
She said there should be freedom of movement in Europe so that “Schengen(is) prepared for the future (and) our children may work, study and travel in the whole of Europe, anytime and anywhere they want,” SchengenVisaInfo.com reported.
Her comments came during a debate on the annual report regarding Schengen.
The Commissioner said the domestic border controls imposed to halt the further spread of the Coronavirus pandemic should be abolished within Schengen.
“The virus is a real danger, but the domestic border checks did not stop and will not stop the virus. Only … coordinated action will help us to overcome this crisis,” she told the European Parliament.
Romania applied to join the borderless area in 2011 and successive governments expressed frustration that they have not managed to convince the Netherlands and France that they are ready to join.
Prime Minister Florin Citu said in February he hoped an upcoming report would be favorable and remove remaining obstacles for Bucharest to join the visa-free area of 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders.
Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon said in her report that border checks had been introduced within the Schengen Zone countries, after 2015 during the migrants’ crisis and especially since the coronavirus outbreak.
She said the Schengen zone should be “completely functional” but was “ completely paralyzed”.
She said that the three EU countries which are currently not in Schengen should be admitted. “We do not accept a Europe that functions at two different levels.”
The Netherlands and France have opposed the accession of Romania and Bulgaria over rule of law concerns.
Romania and Bulgaria joined the bloc in 2007, but were excluded from the Schengen area over corruption concerns. They applied to join in 2011. Croatia joined in 2013 and was kept out for the same reason.