Romania and Bulgaria should join Schengen by the end of 2023, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ilva Johansson told Agerpres after arriving at the Justice and Home Affairs Council (JAI) in Luxembourg, assuring that she is still involved in making it happen. objective.

European Commissioner for Internal Affairs Ylva JohanssonPhoto: JOHANNA GERON / AFP / Profimedia

Asked if she believed her goal of Romania and Bulgaria joining the Schengen area by the end of 2023 was still achievable, Ylva Johansson said: “Yes, I’m still committed to making it happen.”

Joining the two countries in the free movement area is not on the agenda of the JAI Council on June 8 and 9 in Luxembourg, where the two elements of the Pact on Migration and Asylum, for which they hope to get an Agreement, are at the fore.

However, on the agenda of the meeting of interior ministers is an exchange of views on the general state of the Schengen area, during which the European Commission will present a report on the state of the Schengen area in 2023.

“I will also mention it,” Ylva Johansson answered when asked if she would draw the attention of the interior ministers of the Schengen Agreement countries to the need to expand the free movement zone with Romania and Bulgaria.

The discussion of the general state of the Schengen area will take place in the so-called Mixed Committee, formed by the member states of the EU Schengen Agreement – respectively 27 without Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Ireland – and four non-EU states that are part of this agreement (Iceland, Norway , Switzerland and Liechtenstein).

On this occasion, the Swedish Presidency will invite the Ministers of the Interior to agree on the areas that will be given special attention by the Schengen Council in the next cycle of 2023-2024, practically to set the priorities for the free movement area in the next 12 months.

Later, also on Thursday, according to the information note of the Council, Romania will present the results of the ministerial forum of the Schengen countries, which took place on May 9 in our country. Romania and Bulgaria will also inform the delegations about the pilot projects they are implementing in the field of asylum, return and border management.

And last but not least, the Swedish presidency of the EU Council will provide information on current legislative proposals aimed at the Schengen area, the quoted source also noted.