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MEPs Advocate Schengen Accession by Land for Romania & Bulgaria to Alleviate Border Lorry Queues


MEPs of the Petitions Committee have called on the European Union to address long queues for heavy goods vehicles at the EU borders.

In a motion for a resolution adopted unanimously with 25 votes in favour, MEPs have said that this can be done by deciding on a date for full membership for Romania and Bulgaria by no later than mid-2024, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

MEPs highlight that due to issues like insufficient technical capacity, staff shortages, and checks on freight, hundreds of goods vehicles are held up every day at the EU’s internal borders, taking into account the borders between Schengen and non-Schengen EU countries where vehicles are subject to extremely long wait times and delays.

In addition, the MEPS considered particularly problematic lengthy queues of good vehicles on the EU’s external borders with the Western Balkans.

By the end of this month, both Bulgaria and Romania will partially become part of the Schengen Zone by air and sea, while controls at the land border will continue. Reiterating their support for both countries’ Schengen accession, MEPs said that the Council should adopt no later than mid-2024 a decision on the full application of the Schengen acquis in Bulgaria and Romania.

Stoppages at land borders led to at least €1 million in losses in Bulgaria. At the same time, a report by the National Union Hauliers from Romania (UNTRR) stressed that €2.41 billion in losses were recorded for the road freight industry in Romania due to remaining outside the Schengen Zone.

In order to facilitate the land border travel process, at least within the Balkan, earlier this year, Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece discussed plans to abolish their common land borders.

Through a letter sent to Greece’s Minister of Migration and Asylum Dimitris Kairidis, Romanian

MEPs Dacian Ciolos and Vlad Gheorghe, along with Greek MEP Georgios Kyrtsos and Bulgarian MP Daniel Lorer, urged him to lift border controls between Sofia, Bucharest, and Athens.

This would become a very important factor for economic development, especially in the northern parts of Greece, provided that the land border is fully opened before the summer period.

the letter was sent to Greece’s Minister of Migration and Asylum Dimitris Kairidis

However, soon after, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Nikolay Denkov, said such a plan is not being discussed at a political level, stressing that it would go against EU legislation.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, expressed her hopes that both these two Balkan countries will soon become members of the Schengen Zone.

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