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7 Jun, 2011 15:48

Romania and Bulgaria await Schengen carte blanche

Romania and Bulgaria await Schengen carte blanche

The European Parliament in Strasbourg has been debating a report into whether Bulgaria and Romania are ready to join the borderless Schengen area.

­But it is feared it would not only mean easier travel to and from those countries within the EU, but would also open the floodgates for a wave of organized crime and illegal immigrants.

Baroness Sarah Ludford, a British Liberal Democrat MEP, believes the European Parliament is going to support Romania and Bulgaria joining the Schengen area.

“They meet all the current criteria for accession to the border-free Schengen zone,” she said. “The problem is that member states have belatedly realized that they should have had measures against corruption and fighting organized crime as part of the criteria for that accession, but it’s too late to move the goalpost,” said Ludford.

Instead, she stated, it is the EU that now needs to take action.

“The EU needs to have an ongoing monitoring of corruption and fighting mafia crime for all members of the Schengen zone, indeed all EU countries, in the future,” stated Ludford. “The EU has to strengthen its external borders, it has to get much better at dealing with refugees and migrants, and it also needs to move tackling corruption and organized mafia crime. To be honest, the EU is failing collectively as much as there are weaknesses in individual member states.”