Bulgaria and Romania ready to join Schengen, says Civil Liberties Committee

Bulgaria and Romania’s bid to join the Schengen border-free area won the Civil Liberties Committee’s green light on Monday. They have met the necessary conditions, based on the evaluation reports on their preparations, say MEPs. However, Parliament must be kept informed of additional measures to be taken in the Bulgaria-Turkey-Greece area to cope with a possible surge in migration pressure, they add. Parliament takes its plenary vote in June, and the final decision will be for the Council.

Checking that new members have met all Schengen acquis requirements (control of land, sea and air borders, issuing visas, police co-operation, readiness to connect to and use the Schengen Information System and data protection), is a precondition for the Council of Ministers to decide, after consulting the European Parliament, to abolish checks at internal borders with those Member States.

After considering evaluations of the two Member States’ progress and the findings of follow-up visits by expert teams, the Civil Liberties Committee concluded that although some remaining issues will require regular reporting and further attention in the future, they do not constitute an obstacle to full Schengen membership for Bulgaria and Romania.

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