Commission calls for accession of Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen, process on Cyprus ongoing, Johansson tells CNA

The European Commission has called on the Council of the European Union to approve the participation of Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen Area, Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said on Wednesday during a press conference.

Replying to a CNA question about Cyprus the European Commissioner said that the process is currently ongoing.

Johansson underlined that the three countries have proven that they can handle the requirements posed by the Schengen acquis, which include the effective management of external borders, the issuing of uniform Schengen visas, effective cooperation with law enforcement agencies in other States, the use of relevant information systems such as the Schengen Information System, as well as ensuring that fundamental rights and data protection requirements are respected on the borders.

The Commission calls on the Council of the EU to green-light the three countries during its next Justice and Home Affairs Council which is scheduled for December 8th. The European Parliament, which needs to give its consent for countries to enter Schengen, has already given a positive opinion on the draft Council Decision on the full application of the Schengen acquis in Croatia on November 10th, and has adopted a resolution inviting the Council to allow Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen area on October 18th.

Cyprus to be evaluated in 2023


Cyprus will now be the only country outside the Schengen Area (along with Ireland which has obtained an exception for reasons related to free movement with Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom).

The Commission’s communication mentions that the Schengen evaluation process for Cyprus is ongoing, and that the Schengen Information System in Cyprus “will be put into operation soon and this process will be verified by a dedicated Schengen evaluation in 2023”.

The communication also notes that in line with the 2003 Act of Accession, certain provisions of the Schengen acquis are already applicable in Cyprus from the date of accession. Also, on May 28th 2019, “Cyprus declared its willingness and commitment to apply all parts of the Schengen acquis and to be subject to Schengen evaluations, to the extent possible considering the special circumstances of Cyprus as recognised in Protocol No 10 to the 2003 Act of Accession”.

During the press conference, Commissioner Johansson told CNA that she can only say that the process is currently ongoing.

“This is an ongoing process, I’m not really in a position to answer these questions today” the Commissioner said.

Johansson recalled that “Cyprus is really under pressure“ as well as “one of the member states with the highest number of irregular arrivals”, and that the Commission is supporting the country.

“Just to give you one example, I came home yesterday from Pakistan, and Pakistan is one of the nationalities that arrive quite a number via the Green Line – so this is an area where we also ready to support Cyprus with cooperating for example with Pakistan,” the Commissioner added.

Source: Cyprus News Agency