The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee has called on the EU Council to adopt Bulgaria and Romania as soon as possible in Schengen. The debate on the accession of the two Eastern European countries to the common area within the EU is therefore entering a new phase.

The MEPs insist that the adoption of Bulgaria and Romania be a one-off legal act. They stress that the two-tier approach – firstly with a procedure for sea and air borders – and then for land, carries a number of risks and may have a negative impact on the future enlargement of the Schengen area.

It is made clear that from the current situation loose not only the two countries, but also the EU. The parliamentary committee added that Schengen enlargement should not be linked to shortcomings in the areas of asylum and migration.

The rapporteur on the subject – PES President Sergei Stanishev, points out that the division of the process into two phases has no legal basis. Sergei Stanishev’s report was adopted by 36 positive votes to 4 and one abstention.

The document will be voted on by all representatives of the EP in December.

At present, almost all the Member States of the European Union have implemented the 1985 Agreement. Exceptions are only Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia which have not met the criteria for its implementation, as well as Ireland and Britain.

Before the full implementation of Schengen law, each new country needs to be assessed in four areas: air border, visas, police cooperation and protection of personal data. After accession, each Schengen State will undergo periodic evaluations by the EU, which ensure that the agreed rules are properly implemented by all.

In case of a serious threat to public order or internal security, Member States may exceptionally reimburse border checks at all or some of their borders for a very short period of time, which should not be exceeding 30 days. Examples of these are large-scale sports events which could pose security risks, but recently individual countries, and in particular Hungary, are against Brussels’ migration policy which brings the Schengen debate to the fore.

The EP gave the green light for the adoption of Bulgaria and Romania in Schengen in June 2011. The final decision must be taken by unanimous decision of the EU Council. MEPs also call on the EU Council to decide on Croatia’s accession to Schengen as soon as the country meets the criteria.