The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament (EP) approved Monday in a 33-3 vote a report by Carlos Coelho MEP evaluating Bulgaria's and Romania's preparedness to join the Schengen border-free area.
The Committee rejected the proposals not to set a date in 2011 for the aspirants' entry to Schengen.
The Committee will now refer the report to the early June plenary session of the EP in Strasbourg. The EP is expected to pass a resolution, and then the matter will figure on the agenda of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, which has the final say. The Council will also convene in June.
During the discussion of a proposal by 13 countries to change the criteria for enlargement of the Schengen Area unilaterally by the Council, the MEPs on the Committee stated unanimously that this would isolate the EP from the passage of important political resolutions. The MEPs said that changing and complementing the requirements would mean the application of a double standard towards the countries who have already joined the Schengen Area and those applying for accession to it. (Source: BTA)