site.btaEU Home Affairs Commissioner "Sensed A Bit of Readiness in the Room" for Schengen Enlargement
The EU Council Tuesday discussed the Schengen enlargement and EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson presented the Schengen barometer "with a good overview of the state of play on the Schengen area", to use her own words after the meeting in Brussels. "And this time I sensed a bit of readiness in the room" on Schengen enlargement, she said.
Commissioner Johansson said: "It was a very constructive discussion both on the challenges and the achievements that we have in the Schengen area. But also when it comes to the Schengen enlargement, I could present the recent fact-finding mission to Bulgaria with excellent results, that shows again that both Romania and Bulgaria are fulfilling all the criteria to become fully-fledged members of the Schengen area. And this time I sensed a bit of readiness in the room. So there is still hope that we can achieve a positive decision on this soon. It is still the objective of the Commission to have a decision on Schengen enlargement and welcoming Bulgaria and Romania this year. I still think that this is possible to achieve. We are not there yet but I am in very close contact with the member states most concerned and of course in very close contact with Fernando [Grande-Marlaska] and the Spanish presidency."
Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who is the Spanish Interior Minister and who presided over the meeting of the EU interior ministers in Brussels, reiterated his country's support for the entry in Schengen of Bulgaria and Romania, and said it will continue to work until the end of this year to secure the needed support.
He said that the wish of the Spanish Presidency is to see the two countries be admitted fully to Schengen by December 31, and this is also backed by the EC. He promised to work hard for that. If it does not happen, it won't be because somebody has not done their job, he said adding that Europe will be stronger when Bulgaria and Romania join Schengen.