Decision on Schengen Bids of Bulgaria, Romania, Postponed Yet Again

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | October 6, 2015, Tuesday // 10:23
Bulgaria: Decision on Schengen Bids of Bulgaria, Romania, Postponed Yet Again Photo by EPA/BGNES

The decision on Bulgaria and Romania’s Schengen bids will be postponed yet again and will not be part of the agenda of the meeting of EU foreign ministers this week, according to sources close to the matter, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio.

Bulgaria’s government repeatedly expressed the hope that the country’s partial Schengen membership would be put to the vote at the regular meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council on October 8-9, 2015.

However, the agenda of the meeting only includes problems related to the refugee crisis and border control.

The expansion of the Schengen Area was not part of the agenda of the JHA meeting, according to representatives of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio.

According to sources close to the matter, the participants in one of the latest meetings at ambassadorial level failed to achieve consensus on the matter amid a very busy agenda related to border security and attempts to cope with the refugee crisis.

Bulgaria’s government expected a political decision in October on granting the country partial Schengen membership by air border.

Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced in Parliament on Monday that he had also requested the postponement, adding that the issue of Schegnen membership was likely to be postponed further into 2016.

He suggested that a positive vote on the enlargement of the Schengen Area was highly unlikely during the Presidency of the Netherlands of the Council of the EU.

The Netherlands, which has vetoed the measure, has explained its opposition with the lack of progress in the sphere of justice and home affairs in the candidate countries.

The Netherlands will hold the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU in January-June, 2015.
According to sources speaking on condition of anonymity, the Netherlands was not the only country to request a postponement of the discussion on the matter.

The next meeting during which the Schengen bids of Bulgaria and Romania could be discussed is in December.

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Tags: Schengen, Schengen Accession, Schengen Area, justice and home affairs council, JHA
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