European Parliament calls for Bulgaria, Romania to be admitted to Schengen

Members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution on October 18 calling for Bulgaria and Romania to be admitted to the EU’s Schengen visa zone as of the beginning of 2023.

Of 639 MEPs at the sitting in Strasbourg, 547 voted in favour, 49 against and 43 abstained.

On October 12 and 13, representatives of the European Commission and EU countries conducted an inspection in Bulgaria to check for compliance with Schengen border control standards. This inspection was carried out at Bulgaria’s invitation.

Bulgaria’s caretaker Foreign Minister Nikolai Milkov told a news conference on October 14 that while the conclusions of the inspection had not been made known to Bulgaria’s authorities and it was not expected that they would be, those inspected believed that matters had gone well.

The Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU intends putting the admission of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen to a vote in December 2022.

On October 17, the European Commission made its latest call to EU ministers to agree to Bulgaria and Romania joining Schengen. It has made similar calls repeatedly since 2011.

In a debate in the European Parliament on October 5, there was backing from all major parliamentary groups for the two countries to be admitted to Schengen.

Ahead of that debate, an all-party group of Bulgarian MEPs said that the 11-year “blockade” against the admission of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen could no longer be tolerated.

The statement said that the two countries’ technical readiness for Schengen had been confirmed repeatedly since 2011.

(Screenshot of the outcome of the October 18 vote in the European Parliament)

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