European Affairs - Accession to Schengen area
Schengen area represents an area of free movement where checks at the internal borders of the signatory states were abolished and a single external border, where the checks are carried out according to a strict set of rules, was created.
The accession of a country to the Schengen area has as effect the abolition of checks at the internal borders of the Schengen Member States applying the Schengen acquis fully, being created a single external border, where checks are carried out according to a strict set of rules in the visa, migration, asylum field, as well as measures regarding the police, juridical or customs cooperation.
The abolition of checks at the internal borders is applied only on the grounds of a European decision adopted by the Council to this effect and after checking the fulfillment of the conditions necessary for the application of all the Schengen acquis elements, according to the Schengen evaluation procedures applicable in this field.
Subsequent to this decision, crossing the Schengen internal border can be realized without restrictions, being compared to an inland journey. However, the right of the Member States to impose the necessity of holding a valid travel document is not affected.
Also, out of public order or national security reasons, the checks at the Schengen internal borders may be reintroduced for a limited period of time, with the previous notification of the European Commission and of other Schengen Member States.
Taking into account that the abolition of the border checks may lead to the increase of internal security threats for the countries involved, one of the compensatory measures for the protection of the citizens is the cross-border police cooperation among all the contracting states. This cooperation is mainly enabled by setting up inter-institutional cooperation mechanisms among police, customs authority and border police (within the Common Contact Points, Centres, and Bureaus) and by using S.I.S.
Romania, in its steps towards the accession to this area - next phase after European Union accession - is in the stage in which it has to prove its capacity to implement the Schengen acquis in a uniform, correct, consistent and efficient manner.
In order to implement the specific measures and actions to comply with the commitments for Schengen area accession, at national level, the National Strategy for accession to the Schengen area for the period 2008 - 2011, a document containing the action directions which the authorities and institutions with responsibilities in this field have to follow until March 2011 (proposed data for accession), as well as the strategic and specific objectives to be followed, financial resources, juridical implication, monitoring and evaluation procedures, identified risks and the consequences of the accession was adopted.
The main action directions identified in Romania's accession process to the Schengen area are the following:
The Schengen evaluation process consists in the verification of fulfillment of all the necessary measures to fully implement the Schengen acquis. The evaluated fields within this process will be:
The Romanian Border Police - as a specialized institution of the Ministry of Administration and Interior, with duties in border crossing surveillance and control, prevention and combating illegal migration and the specific cross-border crime acts, observation of the juridical regime of the state border, passports and aliens etc. - has the responsibility to ensure a high level of surveillance and control of the future Schengen external borders, by implementing the Community norms and rules to this effect.
For this end, sustained efforts are made for carrying on with the legislative harmonization process and for institutional construction, personnel training, implementation of certain modern management policies and concepts, optimization of the working procedures etc.
Also, the development of internal and external interinstitutional cooperation, as well as the increase of the technical-operative capacity of R.B.P. is permanently pursued, its aim being to curb cross-border crime and to ensure a high level of security of the Romanian borders (out of which more than 2.000 km. represent the E.U. external border - the future Schengen external border).
The progresses achieved by the Romanian Border Police for the accession of Romania to the Schengen area: 2007 | 2008.
Until the accession date to the Schengen area, the borders with Ukraine and Bulgaria are considered, according to the Schengen acquis, as a Schengen external border (Article 1 of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement from 1985 and chapter I - Internal borders - of the Schengen Action Plan reviewed in 2008), even if these are internal border of the European Union.
As a consequence, at the level of these borders, until the date of the accession, the border check will be further carried out by applying the common check principle (Article 17 of Regulation EC No 562/2006) jointly with the border authorities of the neighbouring states Hungary and Bulgaria, based on the concluded bilateral agreements.
From the date of Romania's and Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen area, the regime of the Danube River will be that of an internal land border, following that the specific checks be carried out only in the entry / exit harbour in / out of the Schengen area, like Calafat - Vidin and Galati (the border checksbetween the two harbours will be abolished).
For the ships in transit on the Danube River, without stop in the Romanian harbours, as well as the ships entering / exiting in / out of the Schengen area, the border checks on entry and exit in / out of the Schengen area will be carried out in Calafat, Galati, Tulcea, Sulina and Constanta Sud-Agigea harbours.
Also, Romania and Bulgaria will be further bound to supervise the external border with Serbia, as well as the border section between Romania and Serbia, made up by the Danube River - between Bazias and the first Romanian - Bulgarian common border crossing point - Calafat - Vidin.
Accession of Romania to the Schengen Area: www.schengen.mira.gov.ro.