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S&D Group urges Schengen Council in December to green light Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia


16 Nov 2022


Global Europe

The S&D Group in the European Parliament is urging the December Schengen Council to give the green light for the full accession of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to the free movement area.

For the socialists and democrats, it is vital that the Council lives up to its promises, listens to the overwhelmingly supportive positions of the Parliament and the Commission and agrees to lift internal border controls. Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia have all have met the necessary conditions for full Schengen membership. S&Ds believe a positive decision in the Council in December to enlarge the Schengen area would make the EU stronger and more robust.

Iratxe García Pérez, president of the S&D Group, said:

“It’s time for the EU governments to listen and accept Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia in the Schengen area. The Commission just stated what we already knew: that they are ready and it’s unfair to continue blocking them.

Unrestricted travel benefits millions of EU citizens and businesses. An enlarged Schengen area will make the EU stronger as a Union, internally and on the global stage. It will not only make these three countries stronger, more prosperous and more attractive, but the whole EU.”

Gaby Bischoff, S&D vice-president, said:

“Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia have met the requirements and fulfilled their Schengen obligations. In the face of challenges like the war against Ukraine and the pandemic, these countries have proved that they can play their part in keeping the Schengen area working properly. Yet, millions of Bulgarians, Romanians and Croatians still cannot enjoy the same right to free movement as other European citizens.

We pride ourselves on being a Union based on values and the rule of law. A failure to apply these values and to act in the Council in December risks being damaging. Keeping these countries in the waiting room also risks fuelling dissatisfaction and disenchantment among citizens in Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia. In recent weeks, Parliament has shown its overwhelming support for the treaty provisions on Schengen to apply to Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia in full. Now it is time for the Council to keep its side of the bargain.”

Note to editors

Under Article 3 (2) TEU and Article 67 (2) TFEU, the EU is obliged to provide an area of freedom, security and justice without internal border control. Under their Treaties of Accession, Bulgaria and Romania belong to this area.

As a result of the unanimity rule, the Council blocked the lifting of internal border controls for Romania and Bulgaria in 2011.

The European Parliament is consulted as part of the procedure to enlarge the Schengen area.

In resolutions in December 2018 and October 2022, the European Parliament supported lifting internal border controls for Bulgaria and Romania.

In a resolution in November 2022, the European Parliament supported lifting internal border controls for Croatia.