Posted on 23.09.2011 in News, Russia

Results of JHA Council unfavourable for Bulgaria and Romania

Due to objection of the Netherlands and Finland the EU Council was unable to reach a decision on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen, despite previous promises and Poland’s proposition of gradual accession.

JHA Council meeting © The Council of the European Union
JHA Council meeting © The Council of the European Union

Even though the Schengen evaluation process for Bulgaria and Romania has been completed and both countries fulfilled necessary technical requirements, a draft Council decision on the full application of the provisions of the Schengen acquis in Bulgaria and Romania presented by the Polish presidency did not obtain an unanimous support and therefore was not put to a vote.

Interior Ministers of Finland and the Netherlands justify their decision explaining that corruption in Bulgaria and Romania could undermine both states’ ability to guard external EU borders.

Jerzy Miller, Polish Minister of the Interior and Administration, who was chairing the meeting said in his statement that this evokes “rather sad conclusions on mutual trust between EU Member States”. In his opinion “promises embodied in the Accession Treaties [with Bulgaria and Romania] have been broken”. The Polish presidency will however continue its efforts in this matter.

Among other issues discussed during the meeting were Common European Asylum System (the commitment to introduce it in 2012 has been confirmed), the preparations of the Visa Information System (VIS) as well as the state-of-play of the implementation of the Schengen Information System II (SIS II).

Ministers also exchanged views on a proposal to amend the EU rules on local border traffic in the Kaliningrad area, following the proposal made earlier this year to include the Kaliningrad area and certain Polish administrative districts eligible border area in order to facilitate border crossings. The presidency emphasised that the proposed amendment was a specific solution responding to a unique situation which did not constitute a precedent.

Source: EU Press Room, Gazeta Wyborcza, pl2011