Romania and Bulgaria out of Schengen...never been in

, by Alessio Pisanò

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Romania and Bulgaria out of Schengen...never been in

Romania and Bulgaria into Schengen? No way. France and Germany gave their red light to the entrance of the two Eastern countries into the EU border-free area made up of 25 European countries - the 27 EU members minus the UK, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus. Three non-EU countries are also included - Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.

The French-German stop is due to alleged problems in the judicial system, fraud and corruption both in Romania and Bulgaria. The improvements in fighting organized crime have been judged ’too little’. This is the official reason why the two Eastern countries have seen delayed their access into the Schengen area expected by March 2011. Since they joined the EU in 2007, Romania and Bulgaria have been set under a special monitoring mechanism to evaluate their improvements in reforming their system according to the EU requirements. The recent stop to Schengen constitutes a step backward their full and concrete integration within the EU.

French and German diplomats and governmental representatives supported their decision saying it was “premature” to let them join Schengen in March 2011. Now the access date has been postponed to no one known. France and Romania called for “irreversible progresses” in both countries. Nevertheless many persons suspect that the real problem is the feared poor border and immigration controls. Indeed by allowing the two countries to join the EU border-free area, a ’bridge’ would be built from Europe to Turkey through Greece which could serve as a ’free passage’. The problems at Romania-Moldova border make the situation even more complicated as Bucharest does not recognize it so doing allowing hundreds of migrants to flow across the frontier.

Taking into account these considerations, the judicial problems and the internal corruption would be a perfect excuse to keep out Romania and Bulgaria from the core of the EU. If on one hand Sofia did not overacted at the imposed stop, on the other hand Bucharest yelled at the scandal. Romanian authorities spoke of “absurd discrimination” and “abuse of power” by two of the oldest EU countries. Romanian president Traian Basescu lashed out at a decision to postpone their accession to Schengen calling on the Commission to intervene. By the way the EC has really little power as each Member states has right to veto in Schengen accession procedure. The effect of such an exclusion might be a further worsening of the Eastern integration and a weakening of the East-West relationship already affected by the mass expulsion of Roma people ordered by France last September. Many in the East see this decision as another chapter of the personal war between Paris and Bucharest.

Without any doubt, in Eastern countries some judicial and corruption problems do exist. But for the EU is time to ask itself if exclusion is the solution. Of course an effect has already been gained with such a decision: East and West in Europe are farther and European citizens one more divided.

Your comments
  • On 17 February 2011 at 11:04, by Constantinescu, Andrei Replying to: Romania and Bulgaria out of Schengen...never been in

    Probably this message will not be published due to lack of dignity. This is not the first time EU fails to respect its ’acquis communaitaire’. The problem of migration is not an excuse, it may be properly controled via fast inter-governmental colaboration. The real problem in the EU is that it wants to get more than to offer. It has long been debated and this is an reality: France and Germany look forward to thrive using the other ’satelite’countries by means of ’fraternity’. Democracy, human rights.. EU is a big bubble movement. It’s meant just to achieve the movement towards the east. Fullstop.

  • On 18 February 2011 at 10:32, by D’Jor-Krévys Mouëza Replying to: Romania and Bulgaria out of Schengen...never been in

    I tend to disagree on the fact that the expulsions of Roma people by France was seen as defying Eastern countries. Apparently, Romanian people tend not to like too much Roma people. That is one of the reasons leading them to leave Romania and go to other countries.

    But I absolutely agree when the author says that is is a step backward from the complete integration of Romania and Bulgaria. The EU being a process, not moving forward is a step backward. Moreover, we have to disagree as we stand for a visa-free Europe.

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