Debate on expanding the Schengen area
MEPs will discuss how to enlarge and strengthen the border check-free Schengen area with Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia in a topical debate on Wednesday afternoon.
Bulgaria and Romania are ready to join the Schengen border check-free area, Parliament said in a legislative resolution voted as long ago as 8 June 2011.
The final political decision on whether Bulgaria, Romania and also Croatia can become part of the Schengen area, and thus drop systematic checks at borders with neighbouring EU countries, has to be taken unanimously by the Council.
Recently, Parliament endorsed a Council decision to grant Bulgaria and Romania access to the Visa Information System (VIS), which allows the Bulgarian and Romanian authorities to consult and check VIS data, but without the right to enter, amend or delete them.
Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, and Croatia in 2013.
Procedure: Topical deba
Debate: Wednesday, 13 December