Thursday, September 6, 2012

Romania to Schengen (why not?!)

For the past two years, I've wanted to go to Romania to visit my sister. One thing that stops me is that this country isn't a member of Schengen Area yet. I'm thinking that if I will visit her, why not visit other Schengen countries so we can travel both and explore Europe and I will need just one visa? The inclusion was supposed to happen last September 2011 but was delayed to December 2011 then delayed again to May 2012 then delayed again to September 2012. Currently, there are still discussions about the petition of this country to be part of this area of free movement in Europe.

Last Monday, the EU Justice Commissioner Reding paid a visit on Paris to discuss some Eurozone issues. On her brief interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, she hinted/discussed that the integration of Romania to Schengen might be delayed again (yes, again). But considering her points, I think the Romanian government should improve their political status to be part of such prestigious area. Reding and the Schengen countries are concern with the political crisis in Romania and they are also carefully monitoring the situation in Bucharest.

Based on website, Reding said: "We keep it (the situation in Romania) under close monitoring after the terrible political fight in July and August. We were able to demand that a kind of parliamentary putsch be stopped. We were able to avoid the biggest evil thanks to the determined response of numerous actors including the European Commission, the European Parliament, European states, but also the IMF. The most serious deviations could be limited thanks to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism that we created. We hope all political actors in Bucharest will be able to overcome differences in order to prepare the election campaign in October. Young democracies in the East need to achieve in a short period of time what old democracies had done in several decades".

Of course the news created a strong reaction from the Romanian government. Actually, what I've seen from the news is that Bulgaria and Romania should be joining the Schengen area at the same time but it seems that Bulgaria will be joining first. Before Reding's interview, EC President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement that Bulgaria has fulfilled most of the requirements to be included in the Schengen Area. I'm really hoping that Romania will succeed on their request to be part of such group but if not, the plan is that I will still visit my sister on April 2013.


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