CE: The JAI Council must set the date of full Schengen accession of Romania and Bulgaria

English Section / 17 aprilie

Photo source: facebook/Council of the European Union

Photo source: facebook/Council of the European Union

Versiunea în limba română

The Justice and Home Affairs Council (JAI) must establish at the first meeting after the European Parliament elections from 6-9 June 2024 an appropriate date for the entry of Romania and Bulgaria with land borders into the Schengen area, the European Commission states in the conclusions of the report published yesterday on the state of the Schengen area free movement of people and goods during the past year.

The report states that at the end of 2023, we witnessed the historic decision of the reception of Romania and Bulgaria with air and sea borders in the Schengen area starting on March 31, 2024, but believes that the main objective of the JAI Council must be to establish a definite date for the reception of the two states with land borders in this space.

The cited document also shows that Schengen rules are well enforced, although in 2023 there were some implementation gaps, such as police cooperation to enforce the new measures and an integrated Schengen governance framework - which the European Commission will continue to work on in in view of a more complete analysis of the data, in close cooperation with EU agencies and Member States.

Last year more than 10 million Schengen visas were issued and more than half a billion travelers visited the area, reaching 92% of pre-pandemic levels in 2020. This contributed significantly to the EU economy, as tourism contributes with almost 10% of EU GDP and provides jobs for around 22.6 million people.

This year, for the first time, the Commission also put forward a proposal for a Council Recommendation for the next Schengen cycle to facilitate the implementation of the priority actions identified in the Schengen report, such as: using the Schengen governance framework to promote a higher level of implementation of common priorities; increasing preparedness, security and resilience at external borders, including by improving cooperation with third countries; strengthening the digitization of procedures and systems to increase security and efficiency at the EU's external borders and within Schengen, as well as information-based decision-making; intensifying the fight against cross-border crime and preventing unauthorized movements; contributing to a more efficient operation of the common EU return system based on better integrated cooperation between member states.

The report on the state of the Schengen area will be adopted by the Schengen Council in the meeting of June 13-14, 2024, and will be forwarded to the JAI Council for the implementation of the conclusions.

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