General

EU seeks to include Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia in visa-free travel zone

The European Commission on Wednesday called for Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia to be integrated in the Schengen area, Europe’s visa-free travel zone, “without any further delay.”

The EU’s executive body urged the European Council to “take the necessary decisions,” saying the three countries “are ready to fully participate in the Schengen area.”

The free-travel area currently includes 22 EU members and four countries outside the bloc.

Bulgaria and Romania completed the Schengen evaluation process in 2011, “but no Council decision on the lifting of internal borders has been taken for more than 11 years,” said a statement.

For Croatia, the Council confirmed in December 2021 that it had fulfilled all conditions after an evaluation that lasted from 2016 to 2020.

The Justice and Home Affairs Council will vote on the full participation of Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia on Dec. 8, the statement said.

To become a part of the Schengen area, the candidates need “unanimous approval from all other Member States applying the Schengen acquis,” as well as the European Parliament’s consent, it added.

Source: Anadolu Agency