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Romania most likely to join Schengen area on January 1

Hunor Kelemen expects Romania to join the Schengen area with its land and water borders from January 1, 2023, and with its airport border crossings from March 1. This information was told by the Romanian deputy prime minister at a press conference in Arad on Thursday.

Hunor Kelemen (RMDSZ – Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania) said that the European Union makes the accession to Schengen conditional only on technical conditions and Romania had already fulfilled these conditions in 2011. He added that he himself was a member of the government in 2011 when the European Commission informed the Romanian government about it. He added that since then the country could not join because some member states vetoed it.

He said that France and Germany were already in favor of accession and that he was not aware of any opposition from Finland. “There is still some opposition in the Netherlands, but they are also inclined to accept,” he said, adding that he expected Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to visit Bucharest in the coming months.

I am convinced that the Netherlands has also understood that a blockade based on criteria that have nothing to do with the technical conditions of Schengen is not tenable,”

Hunor Kelemen said.

The politician pointed out that by the end of the year, the European Commission will again check whether Romania meets the technical criteria and hopefully find everything in order. In that case, Romania is expected to join the Schengen area with Bulgaria and Croatia in January, which will allow free movement without document checks at the Romanian-Hungarian border. Hunor Kelemen added that in case of accession, Romania will be responsible for stopping the migration flow at the external borders of the Schengen area. However, the country is prepared for this.

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