– Green light for Croatia to enter the Schengen area
The Czech EU Council Presidency announced the decision on Thursday. However, the demands of Romania and Bulgaria were rejected.
Croatia received the green light on Thursday to enter the Schengen area of free movement from January 1, 2023, of which Switzerland is also a part, announced the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The decision was taken unanimously by the interior ministers from 26 member states at a meeting held in Brussels.
Croatia had previously announced on Twitter that it had received the green light. Croatia becomes the 27th member of this vast region, where more than 400 million people can travel freely without internal border controls.
Romania and Bulgaria, on the other hand, still have to wait to enter this area of free movement: Austria vetoed the expansion on Thursday,
“Today I will vote against the extension of Schengen to Romania and Bulgaria,” Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Garner announced as he arrived for a meeting with his European counterparts in Brussels.
Switzerland will decide later
Switzerland, an associate member of the Schengen area, will not participate at the end of Thursday. If EU ministers give the green light, the Federal Council will decide at a meeting on December 21. Questioned by Keystone-ATS, the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) declined to say whether Bern supported the entry of the three countries.
The Schengen area currently unites 26 countries: 22 of the European Union and four of the EFTA countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland). Internal border controls are theoretically lifted to allow citizens to move freely. Member countries also issue common visas to travelers.