'We need a decision!' Romania pushes for entry to EU's Schengen zone NEXT YEAR

Posted on Dec 12 2017 - 1:17am by admin

Bucharest wants the rest of the club to allow it and neighbouring Bulgaria to sign up to the border-free scheme as soon as possible. 

In an outspoken intervention Romania’s European affairs minister said the countries now need a decision from other member states over a saga that has dragged on for a decade. 

The pair are becoming increasingly frustrated by what they see as protectionism from the rest of the EU designed to stop big companies relocating East. 

Eurocrats say Romania and Bulgaria meet the criteria for joining the passport-less zone, which has been criticised in recent years over high-profile security failings. 

But their accession is being blocked by a number of member states who have raised fears it would prove a boon to organised criminal gangs operating in the two countries. 

Romanian ministers have complained they are being passed around the various EU capitals, with each member state blaming another for blocking the country from joining Schengen. 

Victor Negrescu blasted: “We simply have to take a decision. Everyone tells us that we should discuss with another country, and we don’t know with whom to discuss. We don’t know why we should not be there.”

He said his country expected to have a “very frank discussion” with other member states about its accession next year, adding that “maybe a vote should happen”, according to EU Observer. 

He pointed to Austria’s six-month stint as the host of the EU presidency, in the second half of 2018, as “an excellent occasion to put the issue on the table” and “a moment when a decision should be taken”. 

In his State of the Union speech, delivered in September, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Romania and Bulgaria should join the borderless zone “immediately”. 

But officials from the two countries feel that their progression is being held back by Western countries who fear a mass relocation of businesses to Europe’s two lowest cost economies. 

One official noted the pair’s accession was a “very sensitive issue” for some countries and that there was a “certain reluctance” from other member states to “open up”.

It currently takes up to a week to transport goods produced in Romania to Germany, but if the country were in Schengen that time scale would be cut to just 20 hours. 

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