European Union justice and home affairs ministers have agreed to allow Bulgaria and Romania to consult, in a read-only mode, the Visa Information System data.
The decision adopted on October 13 will put into effect a series of provisions of the Visa Information System, according to a document released after the ministers meeting.
These provisions will only apply after Bulgaria and/or Romania have successfully completed comprehensive tests to be carried out by eu-LISA (the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice) and duly notified the European Commission of their completion.
In addition, Bulgaria and Romania may invite experts from member states and the Commission to perform reviews of the application of those provisions, the ministers agreed.
Though the two countries joined the EU in January 2007, both continue to remain outside the Schengen visa system, blocked by member states that say they fail to meet EU standards against corruption and the fight against organised crime.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called for Bulgaria and Romania to be admitted to Schengen.