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PostSubject: Schengen Zone   Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:11 am

First topic message reminder :

and Bulgaria blocked from joining Schengen zone
Bulgaria says it will try to allay other nations' concerns Continue reading the main story
EU harmonises Schengen visa rules
Balkan states' travel to EU eased
France and Germany have decided to block Bulgaria and Romania from joining the Europe's passport-free travel zone.

The French and German interior ministers said it was "
premature"
to let them join Schengen in March 2011.

They said Bulgaria and Romania needed to make "
irreversible progress"
in the fight against corruption and organised crime.

Romania condemned the decision, while Bulgaria promised to "
do its utmost"
to remove doubts about its membership.

French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux and his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, raised their objections in a letter to European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem, AFP news agency reported.

Experts from EU states who visited Romania and Bulgaria are due to present a report in January that will be used by governments to make a decision on Romanian and Bulgarian membership, but it must be agreed by the Schengen members in unanimity.

"
Grave consequences"


A spokesman for Germany's interior ministry said there had also been a lack of progress by Romania and Bulgaria in reforming their judiciary, Associated Press news agency reported.

The spokesman said those deficits could have "
grave consequences for the European Union's security"
and raised concerns about an "
overly swift"
adhesion to the Schengen area.

Romanian President Traian Basescu said: "
I believe that the Franco-German letter sent to the European Commission is an act of discrimination against Romania."


Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Vessela Tcherneva told AFP: "
We are aware that the political situation in some EU member countries is complicated. For that reason, we will do our utmost to remove any doubts, including in the areas of the judicial system and society as a whole."

The Schengen zone is made up of 25 European countries - the 27 EU members, minus the UK, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus;
plus three non-EU nations - Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:19 am

All a bit much to take in at the moment I think I will need a coffee and then go through all this
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:34 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
All a bit much to take in at the moment I think I will need a coffee and then go through all this

Put a drop of brandy in it, a great help for the old grey matter
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:30 pm

s

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Can someone explain to me in simple English what the advantage is of Bulgaria joining the Schengen Zone please s

s

Hi Daisy

I think it means people can travel visa-free to all countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement - which is most of the EU. But I am sure Willow or one of the other members will will put us right in due course. g

oddy s

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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:52 pm

Quote :
I think it means people can travel visa-free to all countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement - which is most of the EU. But I am sure Willow or one of the other members will will put us right in due course. g

oddy s


I think you are right willow but then will it be a "
free for all"
? BG will used as a transit camp like many other EU countries.


c
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:31 pm

Romania Blames Bulgaria for Possible Schengen Failure

Bulgaria is dragging down Romania in its way to a Schengen Agreement entry, according to Romania's Foreign Minister Teodor Bacosnschi.

He has stated that before the Romanian Adevarul paper on Monday. His opinion is in contrast to the Bulgarian government's position that Bulgaria is coping better with the assessment criteria.

"
Germany has agreed with postponing Romania and Bulgaria's Schengen entry due to some delay in covering the technical criteria by the Bulgarian side,"
Baconschi has said.

He has also expressed his dissatisfaction that Germany and France are, according to him, "
changing the rules in the middle of the game"
and has stated that Romania may quit the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification if its European partners use it as a tool to put the country under pressure.

On December 30th the Romanian on line media Ziare.com reported that Bulgaria has failed the final test of technical readiness for accession to the Schengen Area.

The report stated that, unlike Romania, during the most recent inspection, Bulgaria has registered problems with the technical requirements for Schengen accession.

At the beginning of December, experts from the European Commission were on a mission in Sofia to assess Bulgaria's Schengen readiness, stating that Bulgaria and Romania's entry to the Schengen Agreement depends on the assessment of technical criteria. This was the seventh consecutive visit of Schengen experts in Bulgaria.

As an answer to France and Germany's recent opposition to the Schengen accession of the two newest EU members, the Bulgarian government sought to distance itself from Romania's negative reaction.

Unlike Romanian President Basescu, who called France and Germany's positions "
discriminatory"
, the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov described the criticism of the two Balkan states as "
fully justified."


On December 20, EP Vice President Rayner Wieland said in Sofia the decision on Bulgaria and Romania potential Schengen entry is to be made on March 27 2011.

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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:40 pm

Hungarian interior minister: Bulgarian, Romanian Schengen accession postponed


Sofia Echo Thu, Jan 06 2011

Bulgaria and Romania’s Schengen Area accession will be postponed at least until October, because both countries are unprepared on numerous issues, Hungarian interior minister Sandor Pinter told Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) on January 6 2011

Hungary is the current holder of the EU Presidency and according to Pinter, Bulgaria and Romania must meet a number of requirements before becoming eligible to join the Schengen Area. Pinter said that this could not happen until October 2011, although even then it is by no means certain.

On December 22 2010, a joint French-German letter to European home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom qualified the March 2011 target date for Bulgaria and Romania as "
premature"
but it's uncertain if the countries will be able to make the cut by October either.

The interior ministers of Germany, Thomas de Maiziere, and France, Brice Hortefeux, said in their letter that neither Bulgaria nor Romania had fulfilled requirements for entering the Schengen zone because of lack of reform to their respective judicial systems and insufficient attempts to tackle corruption and organised crime. Since their accession, both countries have been subject to constant EU surveillance in that area as part of the co-operation and verification mechanism (CVM).

Pinter said, however, that Hungary would continue to support Bulgaria's accession into the Schengen Zone.

Pinter, a lieutenant-general, served as interior minister between 1998 and 2002, in Viktor Orban's cabinet. Before that he held top positions in the Hungarian police, being chief of the Budapest police in 1991, and then chief of the national police between 1991 and 1996, having entered politics after his retirement
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:02 pm

No Schengen Entry for Bulgaria in March 2011

Bulgaria and Romania stand no chance of being admitted to the Schengen Area in March 2011 as they originally hoped, according to anonymous diplomats.

The two Balkan countries will not make it to become members of the border-less Schengen Agreement, because the technical assessments for their preparedness are negative, senior EU diplomats have told AFP as cited by BTA.

The final decision on whether Bulgaria and Romania can become members of the Schengen Area in March 2011 will be made on February 24, 2011, at a meeting of the council of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

The report says that Bulgaria's control on its border with Turkey, which is an external EU border, is negative, and that there is no way Romania can be admitted to Schengen without Bulgaria, according to one of the anonymous diplomats.

This appears to confirm accusations made by senior Romanian officials in the recent days that Bulgaria has been dragging Romania down for Schengen because of problems with the border control at the Kapitan Andreevo crossing on the border with Turkey.

France and Germany have already expressed their opposition to the March 2011 entry into Schengen of Bulgaria and Romania saying such a move will be premature.

According to Friday's report, about a dozen governments of the 27 EU member states share the same opinion.

Another diplomat is quoted as saying that the delay of the Schengen Accession should not be seen as a sanction since Greece's admission to the borderless zone was delayed three times at Germany's insistence.

Germany's concerns are said to be confirmed by the current problems that Greece faces at its land border with Turkey, which has seen an influx of illegal migrants in 2010, leading to a mission of the EU border control agency Frontex to help Greece patch up the situation.

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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:08 pm

[size=150:7aeu3ado]This information might answer some of the questions relating to this topic [size=150:7aeu3ado]-Please read the following

[size=150:7aeu3ado]Free movement of people within the Schengen Area


Information
The Schengen Convention is an agreement among some European states which allows for the abolition of systematic border controls between the participating countries. It also includes provisions on common policy on the temporary entry of people (including the Schengen Visa), the harmonisation of external border controls, and cross-border police and judicial co-operation. The name of the Convention comes from the name of the village Schengen in Luxembourg where the Agreement was signed in 1985.

A total of 30 states have signed the agreement and 24 have implemented it so far. Border posts and checks have been removed between Schengen area states and a common Schengen visa (see below) allows tourist or visitor access to the area.

The initial 15 states that implemented the agreement are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia implemented it on 21 December 2007 for land and sea borders and in March 2008 for air borders. Switzerland implemented the agreement for land borders on 12 December 2008 and for air borders in March 2009. Bulgaria and Romania aim to implement it in 2011. Cyprus has not announced plans to implement it.

Ireland and the UK have applied to take part only in the police and criminal judicial co-operation measures and not the common border control and visa provisions.

The Schengen arrangements deal with travel between the participating states. They do not affect the rights of people to live and work in other countries. This is covered by EU directives and regulations on free movement of people.

Rules
[size=150:7aeu3ado]The Schengen countries have implemented the following arrangements:

They have common rules about entry and short stay visas
They have removed checks at their common borders and have checks only at the external borders;
there are separate arrangements at airports for people travelling within the Schengen area.
They have arrangements for co-ordination between the police, customs and the judiciary in the Schengen area states and for taking measures to combat terrorism and organised crime;
this can include rights of hot pursuit
Free movement of people

The Schengen Convention allows people who are legally present in one of the participating countries to travel to any of the other participating countries without having any border checks when crossing internal frontiers.

Internal frontiers are defined as the national boundaries between the countries taking part in the Schengen Convention, together with airports and seaports in the case of traffic to and from a Schengen country. Travellers may cross the internal frontiers wherever and whenever they like without having to undergo personal checks. However, anyone who enters or leaves the Schengen zone is subject to the normal checks.

This does not mean that you can travel without identity documents. Many of the countries concerned require their own citizens as well as others to carry some form of ID. You may need a passport or other form of ID to establish your entitlement to travel freely.

If you are legally in one participating country and you travel into another you may move around for 3 months without any checks. After that, your right to remain in the other country is subject to the rules in respect of taking up residence in another country.

Asylum seekers in one participating country are not entitled to travel freely to another. They are subject to the rules set out in the Dublin Convention on the country to which their application for asylum must be made.

Schengen Borders Code: Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 established a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders.

[size=150:7aeu3ado]Schengen visas
A Schengen visa is a visa issued by one of the participating countries to third country nationals. If you have a visa to travel to one Schengen country, you do not need a further visa to travel to the others. If you have a valid residence permit in one Schengen country you can travel to the others without needing a visa (in effect, a residence permit from a Schengen country is the same as a Schengen visa).

Schengen Information System

The Schengen Information System (SIS) is a database set up to facilitate the exchange of data on people's identities and descriptions of objects that were either stolen or lost. It is available to the authorities in the participating countries. It is accessible by them only to the extent that they take part in the Schengen arrangements.

A new system SIS-II is being developed and should be in place in 2008. Ireland has agreed to opt in to the SIS 11 system.

Frontex
Frontex is the EU Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States. It is based in Warsaw and was set up to co-ordinate the activities of member states in the field of border security. Responsibility for the control and surveillance of external borders lies with the member states. Frontex was established by Regulation (EC) 2007/2004. Ireland and the UK are not involved.

Legal status of Schengen

The original Schengen Convention (agreed in 1985) was an international agreement between the countries who agreed to be bound by it. A further convention was agreed in 1990. The Convention came into effect in 1995. In 1998, the conventions became part of EU law when the Treaty of Amsterdam came into effect.

Ireland and Schengen
Ireland is not part of the Schengen arrangements on travel and visas. It is open to Ireland to take part in these arrangements if all of the Schengen members and a representative of the Irish government vote unanimously in favour within the Council of the EU. This means that Irish people are subject to passport checks at the borders of other EU member states.

The External Borders Fund

The External Borders Fund aims to help with the creation of an efficient, high and uniform level of control at the external borders. Ireland is not involved.

The Prüm Treaty

The Prüm Treaty is sometimes referred to as Schengen Plus. It was signed on 27 May 2005 by 7 countries - France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg. They agreed to increase their co-operation in order fight against terrorism, cross border crime and illegal migration. The agreement allows for the exchange of data on finger prints and genetic information. The agreement is open to other Schengen member states. This is an international agreement between the countries concerned. It has no connection at present with EU law

[size=150:7aeu3ado]I hope that helps with the understanding folks
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:38 pm

Thank you willowsend I didn't know exactly what it was but now I have a better understanding, I can also see why Bulgaria and Romania are being apposed! perhaps if they sort out the crime they may have a better chance
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:20 pm

Bulgaria's Schengen Entry Postponed over Turkey Border Control - Report

Bulgaria will not join the Schengen zone at the end of March as previously announced because the report assessing control over the common border with Turkey is negative.

The news was reported Sunday by the Bulgarian daily "
Dnevnik,"
citing European diplomats speaking for "
France Press."


The diplomats are quoted saying that about 10 European countries, not just France and Germany oppose Bulgaria's and Romania's Schengen entry. The decision for the postponement is expected to be made during the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers on February 24.

In a Saturday interview for the TV channel Nova Televizia, Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, stated the problem was not the security at the Turkish border, pointing out it was much better than the one between Greece and Turkey.

Borisov voiced strong conviction Bulgaria will enter Schengen in September, after the publishing of the European Commission's monitoring report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism imposed on the two newcomers.

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, further stated Sunday for the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, that there "
are no failures and delays,"
sounding very upbeat that by March the cabinet would fulfil all technical requirements to join Schengen, while the judicial reform would register significant progress by the summer.

The Hungarian Ambassador to Sofia, Judith Lang, explained her country, as the rotational President of the EU, has the goal to make the political decision in the matter happen by the end of June, 2011.

Also on Sunday, Bulgaria's very first EU Commissioner, Meglena Kuneva, pointed out the political lobbying for Schengen started too early.

The Member of the European Parliament from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and former Foreign Minister, Ivaylo Kalfin, voiced doubts Bulgaria would join Schengen before the end of 2011.

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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:34 am

From Novinite

ROMANIA DEMANDS SCHENGEN FAIRPLAY

Romania has called for a fair assessment of the country's bid to join Europe's Schengen Agreement, urging France and Germany not to change the rules in the middle of the game.

This was declared by Romania's Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi on Monday.

"
It would be unfair to accept that two states, no matter which, could set a precedent by changing the rules of the game,"
Baconschi said in an interview with the daily Adevarul.

In the beginning of January, Baconschi statedd that Romania could leave the EU Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, as the Balkan country's Foreign Minister has stated it is a tool used by Western European states to pressure it.

"
This mechanism is becoming a handicap ... or a pretext for pressuring the two countries in other fields"
, Baconschi commented on Monday."
We'll have to decide whether it is worthwhile going ahead with this mechanism or whether we should denounce it unilaterally."


The Romanian Foreign Minister has warned that Romania could use the same argument when the 27 EU members are called upon to decide upon Croatia joining the bloc.

In December France together with Germany vowed to veto the entry of Bulgaria and Romania based on concerns that relate not to the legally mandated criteria, but rather to issues with corruption and crime that are dealt with by the so-called Co-operation and Verification Mechanism set up for the two EU newcomers

On Monday, Hungary's Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi pointed out that, according to the European Commission, Romania has covered the technical criteria for its Schengen entry and that Bulgaria faces "
some problems"
.

Romanian officials, including Baconschi, have already stated that Bulgaria drags Romania down on its way to Schengen.


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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:13 am

From Novinite

BULGARIA BOASTS READINESS FOR SCHENGEN ENTRY IN MARCH

Bulgaria said on Tuesday it is continuing with preparations to join the European Union's passport-free Schengen zone and will be ready to accede in March, despite the strong opposition from a coalition of older EU member states.

"
Bulgaria will be technically in a position to become part of the Schengen area in March,"
foreign ministry spokeswoman Vessela Cherneva said in Sofia.

Cherneva admitted that EU experts had made critical comments in their technical report on Bulgaria, but pointed out the recommendations it made were 'not at all dramatic' and could easily be implemented by the March deadline.

According to her the measures that the government has put in place along the country's border with Turkey even excel the requirements for Schengen.

In a letter sent at the end of last year to the European Commission, German and French interior ministers said Romania and Bulgaria must make "
irreversible progress"
in terms of CVM monitoring before they can enter Schengen, referring to the so-called Co-operation and Verification Mechanism, through which Brussels monitors the progress the two countries are making in justice and home affairs.

When the two countries joined the EU, in 2007, persistent corruption and insufficient reforms of their jutice systems determined the set-up of an unprecedented monitoring mechanism, which so far led to the freezing of some EUR 500 M in Bulgaria due to fraud associated with EU funds.

Bulgaria's government has repeatedly said it is working hard to cover the Schengen Agreement criteria and join the zone March 2011. The Balkan country has also started working with the Schengen Information System (SIS).

Bulgaria's government has been keeping a low profile over France's Roma crackdown, apparently fearing that tension with Paris might put at risk its Schengen accession.

The country however will most probably fail to join the Schengen area in March 2011, a target date, which has been set as early as in 2007, during the term of the previous Socialist-led government.

Hungary, which currently holds the EU presidency, may decide to put this issue on the agenda of the Council of Interior Ministers of the EU, due on February 24, but the decision will most probably be negative. The next deadline to be set for Bulgaria is expected to be November this year.

Bulgarian experts are unanimous that the country meets the technical requirements. The real problem rather seems to be the threat of information leakages and Greece's porous border with Turkey.

Experts say the reluctance of France, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria to let the Balkan country join the Agreement in 2011 is both because of domestic politics and because they really believe the entry into Schengen will be premature, just as the EU entry.


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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:20 am

From Novinite

INTERIOR MINISTER: BULGARIA COMPLETELY READY FOR SCHENGEN

Bulgaria's Schengen entry in 2011 is entirely realistic, according to the country's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

He stated that on Friday after he met with his Estonian counterpart Marko Pomerants on Tuesday. Tsvetanov was positive that Bulgaria will have covered the Schengen Agreement's technical criteria by March 2011 and that the country awaits only a political decision.

"
Estonia will welcome Bulgaria in the Schengen zone once it covers the technical criteria,"
Marko Pomerants stated.

Tsvetan Tsvetanov expressed his gratitude over his counterpart's support.

The two Interior Ministers have also discussed Estonia's issue with the first counterfeit Euro notes, which have emerged just days after the Baltic country adopted the common currency.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Bulgarian foreign ministry's spokeswoman Vessela Cherneva said Bulgaria is continuing with preparations to join the European Union's passport-free Schengen zone and will be ready to accede in March, despite the strong opposition from a coalition of older EU member states.


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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:26 am

Under the Schengen agreement, transiting from one country to another within the Schengen area is done without border controls. In fact, the Schengen visa makes it possible to visit all the countries in the Schengen area and to cross internal borders without further formalities.

But be careful – the European Union and the Schengen area are two different zones! The list below will enable you to see the difference and check that the countries where you are planning to stay are all in the Schengen area.



List of Schengen countries
To find one of the embassies or consulates of one of those countries, click on the name of the country.

Austria Belgium Czech Republic Denmark
Estonia Finland France Germany
Greece Hungary Iceland Italy
Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta
Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal
Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden
Switzerland
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:19 am

From Novinite

BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER HOPES FOR SCHENGEN ENTRY BY 2011 END

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov has expressed hopes that Bulgaria will be able to join the borderless Schengen Area at the end of 2011.

Speaking on the priorities of Bulgaria and the Hungarian EU Presidency on Wednesday, Mladenov declared that the Bulgarian government is convinced that it will have fulfilled all technical requirements and criteria to become part of the Schengen Agreement by March 2011.

March 2011 was the deadline set for the Schengen Accession of Bulgaria and Romania but recent indications on part of Western European states and reports about Bulgaria's technical border control problems have made it highly unlikely that the deadline will be met

"
We hope that after March 2011, having met all technical criteria, we will allow the EU member states to take a decision shortly that Bulgaria should join the Schengen Area by the end of 2011,"
Mladenov declared in Sofia Wednesday.

"
Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen Area is of extreme important in all directions and aspects, you can imagine that, and there is no need for me to explain it to you,"
Mladenov told journalists while mentioning the Foreign Ministry's other priorities during the Hungarian EU Presidency.


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