These two countries are set to enter Schengen zone

BRUSSELS – Two more countries are ready to have their schengen entry requests approved later this year after they have largely fulfilled the conditions. 

Romani and Bulgaria are the new entrants and authorities vow to have an important role in protecting the Area’s borders. The Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis, expressed earlier this week that he hopes the two countries will be let into the Schengen Area.

Both the countries are taking measures to protect the borders and expect a positive response on their entry into Schengen this year. The two states were kept out of Schengen zone last year primarily because Austria was opposing them joining the area citing illegal migration concerns; both the countries negate the claims. 

“Illegal migration is only artificially mixed into the Schengen issue. We are doing and will do everything we can to curb illegal migration. However, we expect that our right to be part of Schengen is recognised, and we hope to receive a positive vote this year,” the statement of Romanian president Iohannis reads.

Austria is still adamant on its opposition and remains firm on its stance against the expansion of the area with its chancellor Karl Nehammer, saying during a visit to Bulgaria that the country continues to have illegal migration concerns adding that Schengen Area can not be expanded right now.

“It is clear that our Schengen veto is not directed against a country, but that the Schengen area does not work and cannot be expanded at the moment,” Nehammer stated as reported by Schengenvisainfo.

Despite the strong opposition, Romania has vowed to stay determined in its efforts and to enter the zone. The Minister of Interior of Romania, Lucian Bode, recently reiterated Romania’s commitment and advocated that entry to Schengen Area will benefit both the parties.

The minister was continued to elaborate that the security of the EU external border, Schengen borders, and the security of EU citizens would enhance with the accession of Romania into the Schengen Area.

What is Schengen Zone

The zone was created in 1985 and allows people and goods to travel freely, usually without showing travel or customs documents. This creates oppurtunities for tourism related revenue for the countries and offers virtually no hurdle for travelers.

The following are part of the zone along with Croatia:

Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

As far as the visa requirements are concerned, the Schengen zone allows nationals of certain countries to enter the Schengen Area via air, land or sea without a visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period, while determining the criteria others must meet when making similar visits to Schengen states.

Nationals of EU countries are not only visa-exempt but are legally entitled to enter and reside within each other’s borders visa free. This freedom of movement can, however, be limited in rare cases, as stipulated by EU treaties.