site.btaPresidents of Four EP Groups Urge EU's Justice and Home Affairs Ministers to Grant Full Schengen Accession to Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia
The Presidents of four of the seven groups in the European Parliament: Renew Europe, the Greens, S&D and the European Peoples' Party Group, have written to the EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers ahead of the Justice and Home Affairs Council December 8-9, urging them to listen to the favourable positions of the European Parliament and of the Commission and agree to grant full Schengen accession to Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.
"We can all agree that an enlarged Schengen area will make the EU stronger as a Union, internally and at a global level," they write. "It is vital that you, the EU Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, live up to EU commitments and promises, listen to the overwhelmingly favourable positions of the European Parliament and of the Commission and agree to grant full accession to Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to the Schengen area."
The letter also says: "We pride ourselves on being a Union based on values, principles and the Rule of law. A failure to apply these in the Council in December risks being damaging not only to the three countries but to the Union as a whole. Keeping these countries in the waiting room also risks fueling dissatisfaction and disenchantment among the citizens of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia. Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia are legally obliged through their accession Treaties to implement the Schengen acquis. Those Members States cannot exercise any opt - in and opt - out clauses and bear all responsibilities for the Schengen external borders without enjoying the benefits of the Schengen area."
The MEPs go on to recalls that following a new verification mission, the European Commission re-confirmed with its report of November 23 that the three countries have followed and implemented all the agreed conditions for their full accession to the Schengen area. "In the case of Bulgaria and Romania, they received a positive evaluation from the European Commission already 11 years ago but since then they were placed in a perpetual waiting room by the Council. We call therefore on you to ensure that the Council takes all the necessary steps, based on the efforts and the merits confirmed and reconfirmed by the subsequent reports of the European Commission and in line with the opinions expressed by the European Parliament in its relevant resolutions, and adopt a decision on the full application of the provisions of the Schengen acquis to the Republic of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia by the end of 2022, thus ensuring the abolition of checks on persons at all internal borders for those Member States in early 2023.
The letter is undersigned by Stéphane Séjourné, President of the Renew Europe Group, Terry Reintke & Mr Philippe Lamberts, Co-Presidents of the Greens Group, Iratxe Garcia Pérez, President of the S&D Group and Manfred Weber, President of the EPP Group.