Romania’s Schengen accession complicated by migrant increase

  • Tomáš Hošek
  • 24.10.2017 12:16

On Friday 13 October, EU Interior and Justice Ministers agreed to allow Bulgaria and Romania to consult the Visa Information System data, a move which brings the east-Balkan countries closer to a full membership in the Schengen area. Romania’s future accession to Schengen is, however, substantially complicated by the increased surge of migrants heading for Western Europe in recent months.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke in favour of admitting Romania and Bulgaria to Schengen in his September speech on the state of the Union. Austria, Germany and the Netherlands are, however, opposing the move, i.a. due to the new migration route in the Black Sea region. Over 4,000 people from the Middle East and Central Asia have thus far crossed the Romanian border this year, three times the total number of 2016. Aside from the Black Sea route from Turkey, asylum seekers also try to cross into Romania by land from Bulgaria and Serbia. On Friday 20 October, Romanian police took into custody 28 illegal migrants originally from Afghanistan, India, Iran and Iraq on their way to the Hungarian borders. A week earlier, Romanian authorities tried to return 12 Iraqi asylum seekers to Bulgaria under the terms of the current EU legislation but Sofia refused to accept them.

About author: Tomáš Hošek


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