The Schengen Area, an area of Europe where citizens can travel without the need of a via, passport or any form of documentation. Are Romania and Bulgaria ready for it?

Romania and Bulgaria, two of the more recent additions to the European Union, qualify to join the Schengen Area, European Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva told the press the other day. “We consider that Bulgaria and Romania qualify to join the Schengen Area,” Andreeva said, cited by Romania’s Mediafax news agency. “Now an unanimous decision of the EU member states is needed,” she continued. Romania and Bulgaria have been seeking to obtain access to the Schengen area for years, but their requests were repeatedly vetoed by several member states due to their internal instability and economic performances. Now, it seems, the last barriers have fallen – provided the rest of the 28 EU member states agree with the Commission.

What is the Schengen Area

In short, it is an area in Europe where citizens can circulate without the need for a visa, a passport, or any form of border control – basically, they have given up internal borders completely. When it comes to international travel and visa policy, the area mostly functions like a single country. The Area is not limited to the member states of the European Union – only 22 of the 28 EU countries have adhered. The “outsiders” are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The first four are legally obliged to join the area – and they wish to as well. The remaining two countries have chosen to opt out of the area. Aside from the 22 EU member states, four more countries – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – have signed agreements to join the Schengen Agreement. The Schengen Area has a population of over 400 million people.

But the Area only eliminates traveling restrictions and internal borders – it doesn’t refer to anything related to policies and trade. This means that when passing into another country, no matter if it’s a Schengen country or not, you’ll have to log out of your favorite mobile casino game if they aren’t licensed in the country you’re entering.

Due to the migrant crisis and the recent terrorist attacks, many countries have decided to suspend the provisions of the Schengen Agreement. Countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden have reintroduced border controls to their borders with other Schengen member states, hoping to prevent further terrorists from entering their area.

Schengen has to change

French president Francois Hollande thinks that the Schengen Agreement needs to be improved. The unraveling of the area would have a serious impact on the very existence of the European Union. He also told the press that he is definitely open to Romania’s adhesion to the agreement. Romania has repeatedly tried to adhere to the agreement in the past, but thanks to the strong opposition of The Netherlands it never managed to do so.