SCHENGEN NEWS: ROMANIA AND BULGARIA SET TO JOIN, AND STRENGTHENING OF V.I.S.

An overwhelming majority of the European Parliament members voted in December in favour of a resolution that calls on the admission of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen zone. According to Schengenvisainfo.com, the resolution requires from the European Council to act swiftly, so both countries join the EU’s border-less zone as soon as possible. The report was approved by the members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament in November. Now that the European Parliament members have also approved it, the European Council must vote unanimously in order for both countries to join the area.

Meanwhile, the European Union Council agreed on Wednesday, December 19, to negotiate the mandate of the Visa Information System (VIS), in a bid to strengthen security in the Schengen Area. The EU ambassadors agreed on the upgrade of the VIS, which was previously proposed by the European Commission in May last year.

The proposal was then passed to the EU Council. The Visa Information System is the Schengen Database that contains information on persons that apply for Schengen visas. These changes have been proposed with the aim of a better responding to the evolving challenges on security and migration as well as to improve the management of EU’s external borders.