EFA calls on EU member states to stop unfairly blocking Romania & Bulgaria from joining the Schengen Zone

EFA welcomes today’s news that Croatia will join the EU’s passport-free Schengen Zone. However, we are troubled to hear that Romania and Bulgaria, whose bids were also considered at the same time by the Council of the European Union, will remain blocked due to opposition from Austria and the Netherlands. This is despite both countries having received a recommendation from the European Commission indicating that they have fulfilled all the requirements. The European Free Alliance calls on EU member states to stop unfairly blocking their bid to join the Schengen Zone.

Side with the spirit of good European cooperation

EFA believes Schengen membership for all three member states would be a meaningful step forwards for European integration, 15 years after Romania and Bulgaria first joined the Union. And above all, it would make an enormous difference to cross-border communities in these states, such as the Hungarian community in Romania and the Macedonians in Bulgaria, facilitating connections between families, businesses, and cultural ties due to the removal on border controls. A Europe built from the bottom up would take into consideration these communities’ desire for strong cross-border cooperation, which the passport-free zone allows.

It is in this spirit that the EU and member state interior ministers should act immediately to find solutions and bring an end to the Dutch and Austrian blocks to further Schengen accession.