EU backs Croatia’s entry into Schengen, rejects Bulgaria, Romania

    WORLD  08 December 2022 - 21:00

    The European Council approves the admission of Croatia to the passport-free Schengen area from January 1.

    European Union members have confirmed the admission of Croatia to the bloc’s passport-free Schengen area while rejecting the candidacies of Bulgaria and Romania, Al Jazeera reported on December 8.

    The decisions came on Thursday during a meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels.

    “Last step completed! Council decision adopted – It is now formally confirmed that Croatia joins Schengen area as of 1 January 2023,” the permanent representation of Croatia to the EU said in a tweet on Thursday.

    “The Schengen area is growing for the first time in more than a decade,” the Czech Republic, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency tweeted. “Ministers approved Croatia’s membership as of 1 January 2023!”

    EU commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said that Romania and Bulgaria have been denied access to the area.

    “When it comes to the accession of Romania and Bulgaria we are not united and that makes us very weak and that makes me also sad,” he said.

    “You deserve to be full members of Schengen, you deserve to have access to the free movement in the Schengen area,” Johansson said.

    Unanimous support

    Full accession for the EU’s newest members – Bulgaria and Romania joined the bloc in 2007, Croatia in 2013 – required unanimous support from their partners.

    The three countries already partly adhere to the Schengen rulebook, but internal border controls have yet to be lifted.

    The hold-up has long been over concerns among the trio’s partners about the reach of organised crime, unauthorised migration, and other security concerns.

    Last month, the EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, ruled that all three candidate countries meet the technical criteria for joining, and the European Parliament has also voted in favour of their membership.

    Croatia’s bid had not received any notable opposition from its EU partners. But ahead of Thursday’s meeting Austria appeared almost certain to veto the Bulgarian and Romanian bids over immigration, as increasing numbers of people cross its borders without authorisation via the Balkans region.

    Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner renewed his country’s staunch opposition, noting that more than 100,000 people have entered Austria this year without authorisation.

    “The system is not working right now,” he told reporters.

    Thoroughfares for asylum seekers

    Austrian officials are anxious that abolishing internal border checks could make Bulgaria and Romania thoroughfares for asylum seekers.

    Right-wing parliamentarians from the Sweden Democrats party have opposed membership for the three hopeful countries, citing similar worries.

    Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca said on Wednesday that his government has had “meetings at the highest levels” with Austria to try to ease the concerns, and noted that data shows “Romania is not on migration flows that would generate fears”.

    “Illegal migration is politically very sensitive in many member states … but blocking Romania’s accession to Schengen will not bring the answers Austria wants,” he said in a news conference, adding that “the current state of uncertainty cannot continue”.

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also sparked a furor last week when he alleged that Bulgarian border security officials could accept cash bribes.

    The Dutch parliament must also weigh in, meaning that Bulgaria might be more likely to join later than the two other candidates.

    "Cynicism"

    Bulgarian President Rumen Radev hit back, writing on Facebook that three Bulgarian border officials have been killed in recent months while protecting the bloc’s external borders.

    “Instead of European solidarity,” Radev said, “Bulgaria receives cynicism.”

    In an effort to ease their partners’ concerns, Bulgaria and Romania invited EU fact-finding missions with national experts twice in recent months to see how things have improved.

    Hungary had also appeared ready to delay their entry, as it has done with several EU issues that require unanimity voting in recent months, mostly due to the right-wing government’s objections that its access to European pandemic recovery funds is being held up over corruption concerns.

    The so-called Schengen area comprises 26 countries – 22 EU states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

    Nearly 1.7 million people live in one Schengen country and work in another. About 3.5 million people cross an internal border each day without needing to show their ID.

    The Schengen rulebook allows free movement to more than 400 million European citizens and businesses but nations can introduce temporary checks on grounds of internal threats to national security, and several routinely do so.

    Caliber.Az

    Subscribe to our Telegram channel


Read also

Ukraine, Russia swap prisoners; bodies of British volunteers returned

04 February 2023 - 17:15

US, allies denounce Iran’s ‘inadequate’ response to IAEA report

04 February 2023 - 19:02

Hong Kong set to give away 500,000 free airline tickets to lure back tourists

04 February 2023 - 22:00

American volunteer aid worker killed in Bakhmut while helping Ukrainian civilians

04 February 2023 - 14:33

Portugal refuses to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

04 February 2023 - 14:43

Ukraine announces early arrival of Leopard, Challenger and Abrams tanks Defence minister's statement

04 February 2023 - 12:50
ADVERTS
Latest news

    Hong Kong set to give away 500,000 free airline tickets to lure back tourists

    04 February 2023 - 22:00

    UK preparing to proscribe Wagner Group as terrorist organisation

    04 February 2023 - 20:59

    Iranian director Jafar Panahi released from jail after going on hunger strike

    04 February 2023 - 20:03

    US, allies denounce Iran’s ‘inadequate’ response to IAEA report

    04 February 2023 - 19:02

    UK’s ambassador to Azerbaijan visits Ateshgah Temple

    04 February 2023 - 17:58

    Azerbaijan, Montenegro sign agreement on air communication

    04 February 2023 - 17:42

    International travelers from 12 countries leave for Fuzuli

    04 February 2023 - 17:29

    Ukraine, Russia swap prisoners; bodies of British volunteers returned

    04 February 2023 - 17:15

    UK’s traveler: Khankendi-Lachin road - open for movement

    04 February 2023 - 17:03

    US former treasury secretary sees risk of ‘sudden stop’ in economy after jobs surge

    04 February 2023 - 16:53

    Traveler from Wales presents gifts to children of families living in Shusha

    PHOTO

    04 February 2023 - 16:40

    Reuters: Indian refiners pay traders in dirhams for Russian oil

    04 February 2023 - 16:28

    “Israel supports Azerbaijan and has already taken Iran down the peg"

    Alexander Shapiro Suliman's standpoint

    04 February 2023 - 16:13

    Intergovernmental agreement between Azerbaijan, Türkiye and Turkmenistan approved

    04 February 2023 - 16:00

    Trafigura: ‘Shadow Fleet’ of tankers hauling Russian oil swells to 600 ships

    04 February 2023 - 15:46

    International travelers enjoy Jidir plain view in Shusha

    04 February 2023 - 15:32

    Cristiano Ronaldo scores his first goal for new club Al Nassr

    04 February 2023 - 15:20

    Minister: Azerbaijan exports 600 million cubic metres of gas to Bulgaria in 2022

    04 February 2023 - 15:07

    Turkish Airlines cancels 238 flights due to weather conditions

    04 February 2023 - 14:55

    Portugal refuses to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

    04 February 2023 - 14:43

    American volunteer aid worker killed in Bakhmut while helping Ukrainian civilians

    04 February 2023 - 14:33

    Expert: Attack on Azerbaijan’s embassy in Iran should serve as wakeup call

    04 February 2023 - 14:23

    Ex-justice minister Zeynalyan may become Armenia's ombudsman

    04 February 2023 - 14:10

    Training course graduates get certificates in Azerbaijan

    PHOTO/VIDEO

    04 February 2023 - 13:57

    International travelers from 12 countries arrive at rally site on Khankandi-Lachin road

    04 February 2023 - 13:42

    Ukraine to extend martial law, mobilisation for 90 days

    04 February 2023 - 13:30

    Türkiye to launch GOKDOGAN, BOZDOGAN missiles from onshore, offshore platforms

    PHOTO

    04 February 2023 - 13:24

    Türkiye, Indonesia sign military cooperation agreement in Ankara

    04 February 2023 - 13:17

    Azerbaijan's ambassador to Mexico exposes Armenian lies

    04 February 2023 - 13:03

    Ukraine announces early arrival of Leopard, Challenger and Abrams tanks

    Defence minister's statement

    04 February 2023 - 12:50

    Suspected supporter of PKK terrorist group detained in Sweden

    04 February 2023 - 12:38

    Gibraltar accuses Spain of 'gross violation of sovereignty' over customs operation

    04 February 2023 - 12:26

    German traveler: Visit to liberated Azerbaijani lands - unique chance

    04 February 2023 - 12:16

    bp eyes to commission three more wells at Shah Deniz

    04 February 2023 - 12:02

    Ukraine claims Russian death toll rises to more than 130,000

    04 February 2023 - 11:51

    Azerbaijan performs practical exercises on fire training

    VIDEO

    04 February 2023 - 11:39

    Azerbaijani border guards thwart another drug smuggling from Iran

    PHOTO

    04 February 2023 - 11:29

    ISW: Russia perpetuates war in Ukraine as direct threat to its security

    04 February 2023 - 11:16

    US, EU, G7 and Australia announce new price cap on Russian petroleum products

    04 February 2023 - 11:02

    Organisation of Turkic States condemns burning of Quran in Sweden, Denmark

    04 February 2023 - 10:51

    Top US diplomat slams 'unacceptable' China balloon

    04 February 2023 - 10:42

    International travelers from UK arrive in Karabakh

    04 February 2023 - 10:32

    France, Italy ready to deliver SAMP/T anti-missile system to Ukraine

    04 February 2023 - 10:20

    Organisation of Turkic States, International Crisis Group discuss global crisis issues

    04 February 2023 - 10:11

    Eco-activists still active on 55th day of rally on Khankendi-Lachin road

    04 February 2023 - 09:54

All news