Expected Additions to the Schengen Zone – Bulgaria and Romania Ready to Join the Travel-Free Area

There is news about Bulgaria and Romania to join the Schengen free-travel area. Both countries are all set to join the Schengen area soon later this year. According to news, MEPs passed a resolution with 526 votes in favor, 57 votes against, and 42 abstaining, Parliament stressed that both of these countries have already fulfilled the essential requirements to be admitted into the Schengen free zone.

Details Regarding Bulgaria and Romania to Join the Schengen Free-Travel Area

The resolution put an emphasis on the matter that both Romania and Bulgaria have already met the necessary requirements for Schengen membership. On the part of MEPs, they expressed regret over the Council’s decision on December 8, 2022, to reject the membership of both countries without giving any kind of legal justification relevant to the accession criteria. As per the MEPs, a larger Schengen area without border controls would strengthen the European Union (EU), and all member states possess the right to join Schengen once they are prepared.

About The Schengen Area

The Schengen Area enables the nationals of the EU and several non-EU nationals to travel freely without undergoing border checks. The growth of the Schengen zone since 1985 has expanded its reach to nearly all European Union countries as well as a few non-European Union countries like Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland. This borderless region, which is quite known in the world as the Schengen Area, provides unrestricted movement to over 400 million European Union citizens and the nationals of non-EU countries (living in the European Union or visiting the European Union) who are legally present in the EU, including tourists, business travelers, or exchange students.

Problems for Bulgaria and Romania for Being Outside the Schengen Zone

On the part of the Parliament, it has recognized that the exclusion of Romania and Bulgaria from the Schengen (visa-free travel area) is causing social and economic burdens for both countries. The reports have it that the citizens of these two nations (Bulgaria and Romania) are subjected to discrimination because of the delays, bureaucratic obstacles, and additional expenditures while they travel or conduct business abroad, which their counterparts in the Schengen area (visa-free area) do not face.

Updates on The Matter

Presently, all European Union member states except Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, and Ireland are part of the Schengen zone (free travel area) that also includes non-EU states (countries) Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.

According to the reports, The European Commission has made the assessment that both Romania and Bulgaria are all set to join the Schengen zone. Besides, the European Parliament has numerous times supported their accession.

It is being assessed that both of these countries will soon be a part of the travel-free area which is called the Schengen Zone. Recently we have seen the addition of Croatia to the Schengen zone, thus, it is expected that Romania and Bulgaria will join the Schengen team also.

Apart from Bulgaria and Romania, European Union is also focusing on adding countries like Cyprus to its Schengen Zone in near future, but it will be interesting to see which part of Cyprus is added – Greek Cyprus or North Cyprus.

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