The Prime Minister of Romania, Marcel Ciolacu, told Bloomberg that he plans to ask the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union to schedule an extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council in December this year in order to discuss Romania’s candidacy to the EU’s Schengen Zone.
Romania’s PM said that his country could consider decoupling from Bulgaria in case negotiations do not lead to good results, in spite of the fact that such a process is technically difficult.
“It is very difficult for me to accept that Austria benefits from the European Sky Shield initiative, even though it is a neutral country, while we allocate 2.5 per cent of GDP to defence,” Marcel Ciolacu.
Spain, which at present holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, targets a December vote to decide the accession of both Romania and Bulgaria to the borderless area.
Expressing hopes that this process would be finalised in December this year, Spain’s Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, emphasised that the issue is among the top priorities of his country.
Romania’s accession to the Schengen Zone was blocked by Austria on December 8 last year over irregular migration concerns.
Furthermore, authorities in this country have emphasised that their position when it comes to this issue remains unchanged.
Last month, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer confirmed that Vienna maintains its veto regarding the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the borderless area of the EU, emphasising that the decision has nothing to do with these two states.
In response to Austria’s ongoing opposition regarding the issue, the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, said that the Schengen Zone no longer functions.
Austria clearly says that it has nothing against Romania and Bulgaria, but it opposes the expansion of the Schengen area. – Klaus Iohannis
Previously, the Prime Minister of Romania, Marcel Ciolacu, said that if Austria continues to oppose the accession of these two countries to the Schengen Area, in December this year at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, Bucharest has the right to challenge the decision at the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
But the option of suing Vienna for its ongoing opposition lost traction among politicians in Romania, especially after the European Court of Justice rejected an appeal on this topic filed by the MEP Eugen Tomac.
Romania has been waiting to become part of the passport-free travel zone for more than ten years; however, the process has not been finalised.