European Parliament calls for Bulgaria, Romania to be admitted to Schengen by end-2023

Members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution on July 12 calling for Bulgaria and Romania to be admitted to the EU’s Schengen visa zone by the end of 2023.

Of 625 MEPs voting on the motion, 526 were in favour, 57 against and 42 abstained.

In a statement, the European Parliament said that MEPs regretted the decision of the Council of the EU in December 2022 to reject their membership “without presenting any legal justification related to accession criteria.”

“A larger Schengen area without border controls would make the EU stronger,” the statement said, noting that “all member states have the right to join Schengen once they are ready.”

The fact that Romania and Bulgaria were still outside the visa-free travel area burdened the businesses and populations of the two countries socially and economically, according to the European Parliament.

MEPs also said that keeping Bulgaria and Romania out of Schengen also meant that the citizens of those countries were discriminated against, resulting in much longer delays at borders, when compared to their counterparts in the Schengen area.

The European Parliament had previously voted, in October 2022, to back the accession of the two countries to the Schengen area, equally overwhelmingly with 547 in favour, 49 against and 43 abstained.

(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)

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