MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Both Bulgaria and Romania should be swiftly included in Europe's visa-free Schengen area, European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday, adding that Croatia also deserves full membership of the zone.
"If we are to have a stronger European Union, it needs to be more inclusive too. If we want to bolster our external borders, and rightly so, then it is high time to bring Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area. Croatia too deserves full membership of the Schengen area as soon as all of the criteria are met," Juncker said.
"If we want to have greater stability in our neighborhood than we need to offer a credible enlargement prospect to the countries of the Western Balkans," Juncker added.
Earlier this year, Croatia joined the Schengen Information System (SIS) as part of the process of entering the Schengen As of now, SIS is fully operating in 22 of 28 EU member states, both with those in adherence to the Schengen agreement, as well as non-Schengen countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and the United Kingdom.