EC Calls For Three More Countries To Join Schengen Agreement
The EU’s member states have been urged by the European Commission to consent to Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania joining the Schengen Agreement. The three nations have met the requirements to become part of the EU’s visa-free program and should start taking advantage of it « without further delay, » the European Commission said in a statement.
The message notes that over the years, especially during the pandemic and most recently when confronted with the « unexpected implications » of the events in Ukraine, these nations have made a significant contribution to the regular operation of the Schengen area.
Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia anticipate joining the Schengen area in 2023. 22 EU countries and 4 non-EU countries are now a part of it (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). The list of Schengen nations was last updated over ten years ago, when Liechtenstein joined the treaty.
The European Parliament decided in November to support Croatia’s entry into the Schengen area. Romania and Bulgaria are additionally meeting the technical requirements to enter the Schengen area. Although they joined the EU in 2007, they were not admitted to the Schengen area because of opposition from several EU countries who questioned Bucharest’s and Sofia’s capacity to combat corruption and uphold the rule of law.