FT: Romania, Bulgaria’s Schengen Accession Could Take Years

It may be years, not months, before Romania and Bulgaria can join the passport-free Schengen area, mainly because of lack of trust in the two countries’ judicial institutions, the Financial Times reported Tuesday, citing a diplomatic source in Brussels.

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Imaginea articolului FT: Romania, Bulgaria’s Schengen Accession Could Take Years

FT: Romania, Bulgaria’s Schengen Accession Could Take Years

"It will be a matter of years rather than months before Romania and Bulgaria can join Schengen," one diplomat said. "Fundamentally, the trust in judicial institutions that is needed to expand Schengen to those two countries does not exist right now."

FT reports Brussels-based diplomats said prospects for Romania and Bulgaria's bid to join the Schengen passport-free travel zone were dimming as fellow EU governments pushed for improvements in their judicial systems and a renewed fight against corruption.

This affects Croatia's bid to join the EU as many member states are now hesitant because they consider Romania and Bulgaria have not fulfilled the commitments they undertook during the accession process.

Dutch foreign minister Uri Rosenthal said lessons from previous enlargements had to be learnt. "A snapshot of the existing situation is not enough. We must ensure that reforms are irreversible and that will require a monitoring device with teeth up until accession. We want a strong insurance policy," he said.

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