“Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria meet all the technical requirements for full membership. I will take steps to see them as full members”, stated today, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, during a lecture at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
The German chancellor also stated that “Schengen is one of the greatest achievements of the European Union, and we should protect and develop it. This also means closing the remaining gaps”.
He emphasized that the gaps must be “eliminated” within the Union.
Since June 1985, the Schengen area has allowed citizens to travel and businesses to operate without border controls. Initially, it counted 5 countries. It currently includes 22 EU countries and 4 non-EU countries. Four member states, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus are not yet part of Schengen.
The German Chancellor’s statement is somewhat surprising for us Romanians. This is because for about 10 years the governments in Bucharest have, countless times, kissed the hand of Mrs. Angela Merkel to ask for support regarding the inclusion of Romania in the Schengen Area.
This process proved to be an eminently political one and not just a technical one.
It must be stated that since the first years after Romania’s admission as a member of the EU (2007), our country has invested huge sums in equipping the eastern borders of the EU and securing both the borders of the Union and the country. The main suppliers of technique and know-how were Germany and France, but also other European countries.
However, when it came to Romania’s Schengen membership, both Germany and France or the Netherlands could not say with open mouth: YES.
Only now, when the Ukrainian crisis proved how useful all the EU states can be in the face of the invasion by the Russian Federation of another country, the need for cohesion and equality and fraternity began to be heard in the western capitals.
We hope that this need will be favorably weighed by France as well. Especially since the second term of President Emanuel Macron is becoming clearer, including after his visit to Algeria.
Moreover, the European Commission (EC) reiterated its recommendation that three EU member states, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, be admitted to Schengen, because they meet the accession criteria, according to the Schengen State Report for 2022 published on May 24 .
The document reiterates the “importance of completing the Schengen area” and calls on the Council to take decisions allowing Croatia, as well as Romania and Bulgaria, to officially become part of this area, given that all criteria have been met.
It is the first time that the Commission has published such a report, following the Schengen Area Strategy adopted last year.
Therefore, there are favorable premises to remove this injustice and seat all the EU states at the same table, not at two, as was the case in the previous period.
This is also a prelude to the elimination of the “Europe with two speeds” doctrine, promoted insistently, until recently, by some chancelleries from the so-called powerful states of the EU.