BM85: Bulgarian and Romanian Schengen accession – a pathway to seamless educational integration and intercultural cooperation for students

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In 2007, Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union together. As years passed and their European integration process deepened, so did their desire to join the Schengen Area. As both countries prepared to be evaluated, they began to work on the necessary admission criteria, taking the time to implement the demands made by the European Union Institutions and reaching a point where they both met all the requested criteria to join  Schengen. However, in December 2022, authorities in Austria and the Netherlands objected to the inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania in the Schengen Area. Both countries currently meet the required standards, but are still denied their rightful access. 

Continuing to deny Romania and Bulgaria’s rightful access to Schengen has multiple layers of consequences, out of which, some have a strong impact on students. For many students, the issue creates a barrier to accessing certain educational and professional experiences. 

Most importantly, the closed door between Romania and Bulgaria and the Schengen Area clearly affects the mobility of students. For Romanian and Bulgarian students, the issue creates bureaucratic obstacles when it comes to applying for an Erasmus+ mobility. Most importantly, a huge barrier to student mobility is the one non-EU students studying in Romania or Bulgaria are facing – without a Schengen visa, these students have extremely limited opportunities to take part in student mobility. This creates a huge crevice in one of EU’s core values – the free movement of persons, with concerning repercussions on students. 
In the economic realm, we need to bring attention to the opportunity cost that both the countries incur – foreign investors have low confidence in Romanians and Bulgarians, which results in less employment opportunities for students. 

To reinforce the president of the European Commission’s statement, we, the European Students Union, strongly believe that Bulgaria and Romania should be admitted to the EU’s free-movement zone “without any further delay”. 

All students deserve equal treatment – Romanian and Bulgarian students deserve equal treatment. Romania and Bulgaria belong to the Schengen Area. 

The European Students Union expresses its support for the Romanian and Bulgarian students and civic society and call for:

  • All EU member states to recognize the legitimate interest of Romanian and Bulgarian students for their respective countries to join the Schengen Area;
  • Austrian and Dutch authorities to review their position and to withdraw their veto;
  • The Council of the European Union to ensure that political considerations do not impede the legitimate interests of Romania and Bulgaria;
  • European civil society to contribute to advocating for the urgent accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area;
  • European students to stand in solidarity with their Romanian and Bulgarian counterparts and contribute to raising awareness of this poignant need of theirs.

Proposer: ANOSR, NASC

Seconders: ÖH, CSC, UDU, FEF, BSA, USI


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