The European Commission is Skeptical about the Schengen Compensation requested by Romania
The European Commission is skeptical about Romania's intention to ask for financial compensation for not being admitted to Schengen. This is clear from an answer to a parliamentary question by the Romanian MEP Ioan-Rares Bogdan.
Romanian Transport Minister Sorin Grindianu said in early September that because of delays at the borders for inspections, carriers are suffering losses equal to 2% of GDP. For 2022, the size of the Romanian economy is estimated at over 286 billion euros.
Because of the long wait for inspections, trucks use more fuel and increase Romania's carbon footprint, the minister said.
Therefore, the government plans to ask for compensation if Austria, the only opponent of Romania's entry into Schengen, does not lift its veto.
In her reply to Bogdan, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said that "the Commission is aware that the continuation of internal border controls may have additional impacts, such as those resulting from greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles waiting at border crossings."
"However, the lack of full implementation of the achievements of the Schengen agreement does not call into question the need for all member states to implement an environmental policy," adds the European Commissioner.
Johansson reminds that, according to the European Commission, Bulgaria and Romania have long been technically ready to enter Schengen, but that "the admission procedure does not set time limits for the Council to take a positive decision" on the admission of new members.
Since 2011, the European Commission has reported to the Council several times that Bulgaria and Romania fulfill the technical criteria for entry into Schengen. However, over the years, various countries have vetoed the process, mostly citing problems related to the application of the rule of law and the results of the fight against corruption at the top of the ruling elite.
In December 2022, both applications were voted on again, and rejected. Bulgaria with the votes of the Netherlands and Austria, and Romania - with a veto from Austria.
Vienna cited increased migration pressure as the reason for its negative vote, saying the two countries did not enforce strict enough external border controls and did not register all illegal migrants so they could not be returned to them when they reached the EU interior. Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said at the time that there are over 100,000 illegal migrants in Austria who entered via the Balkan route.
The Netherlands said it wanted more assurances that the rule of law was being applied in Bulgaria, asking the European Commission for an additional assessment of its condition, which it refused.
The issue of Schengen expansion was due to be revisited in October but was not on the agenda of interior ministers meeting in Brussels on Thursday after Austria and the Netherlands confirmed they were not ready to let Bulgaria and Romania in.
The next opportunity to consider the matter will be in December.
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