Some Romanian politicians (example) argue that the country should be within the Schengen area.

I do not know exactly for Bulgaria, but for Romania I have heard on multiple occasions that it obeys the "technical requirements" for being part of Schengen, but it is still not enough (source or source):

several Schengen countries expressed concerns regarding corruption in the past. Although Romanian met the technical requirements, it's no use to have the latest technology systems if the people in charge of them are easily corruptible. Thus Romania was postponed entry and European Commision monitoring was established.


Bulgaria's and Romania's bids to join the Schengen Area were approved by the European Parliament in June 2011, but rejected by the Council of Ministers in September 2011, with the Dutch and Finnish governments citing concerns about shortcomings in anti-corruption measures and in the fight against organised crime.

While many cannot deny the corruption related problems, it seems strange not to include them in the "technical requirements". E.g. Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification could be used to assess progress with corruption and fight against organized crime. Being postponed due to not meeting a technical requirement seems much easier to understand than due to non-technical (i.e. political) reasons.

Question: Why are Romania's and Bulgaria's reasons for postponing entering the Schengen area considered non-technical?

  • 7
    Because there's hundreds of thousands of Roms in Romania and Bulgaria and people don't want them in Schengen's area. Nothing against Bulgarians or Romanians per se, but...
    – Bregalad
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 18:58
  • 1
    @Bregalad - That's a plausible argument, although one that is too politically incorrect to be expressed by a Brussels' official.
    – Alexei
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 19:37
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    @Bregalad I have actually heard politicians make that argument before but I have got news for them (and you?): Bulgarian and Romanian citizens can come any time they want. Even more fun: If they are invited to leave (because they fail to meet the requirement to stay over 90 days in another EU country) or given some money to go back to Bulgaria or Romania (as France did at some point), they can come back any time they want. And again. And again. For that's totally unrelated to the Schengen area and anybody who implies otherwise is either uninformed or taking his audience for fools.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 21:21
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    It's really quite simple: The Schengen area is about border checks and visas for third-country nationals. Freedom of movement for citizens on the other hand comes with EU membership and Bulgaria and Romania are now full EU members, Schengen or not. So the racism, while real, isn't even a plausible reason to block them entering the area. It's just for show.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 21:24
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    @Alexei Brussels officials are not blocking it, national governments are (that's what the Council is about).
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 21:27

2 Answers 2


The quote you included contains a clue: The fact the Council blocked it (rather than the Commission) is prima facie evidence that it was a political decision. The Council is certainly entitled to take this decision but the Commission is the institution in charge of technical evaluations and it gave a positive opinion many years ago already.

In fact the specific set of countries who formally block it and the reasons cited have varied over the years while a number of politicians have registered their opposition in the media (I am thinking about German and French politicians for example) but none of that is important, once the Council goes against a recommendation from the Commission, the political nature of the dispute is obvious.


Because they aren't technical. Checks have been made a long time ago and it was agreed that the technical requirements have been met, but every single time, some reason (not related to the agreement) has been found for not including them, then some other country changed its mind, and so on.

It's pretty clear that the reasons are political at this point.

  • 3
    You should add some examples of prior rejections to back up your assertions
    – Machavity
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 18:32
  • 2
    Based an argument in the first answer from Quora, I think not being able to deal with corruption is actually a technical problem because you cannot trust that borders controls are correctly done (despite having the appropriate equipment). Also, recent attempts to have political control over justice make things even worse, as justice loses its independence (so, if you find the corrupts, there is a bigger chance of evading the law).
    – Alexei
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 19:35

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