No EU border-free zone for Romania and Bulgaria

No EU border-free zone for Romania and Bulgaria
# 09 December 2022 01:22 (UTC +04:00)

European Union interior ministers have voted to accept Croatia into the 26-nation, border-free Schengen zone, but to reject Romania and Bulgaria, APA reports citing BBC.

The vote was greeted with relief in Zagreb, but anger and dismay in Bucharest and Sofia.

Germany's foreign minister said it was a bad day for Europe.

The European Commission had backed all three countries as meeting the criteria necessary for joining the zone, which includes 420 million people.

"I'm also disappointed," said EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson.

Croatia joined the EU in 2013; Romania and Bulgaria became member states six years earlier.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic praised the decision, which means that Croatia will decommission its border crossings with EU neighbours Slovenia and Hungary on 1 January, the same day as it joins the euro.

Created in 1985, the Schengen area allows people and goods to travel freely, usually without showing travel or customs documents.

It includes 22 of the EU's 27 states as well as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

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