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SOFIA (Bulgaria), September 13 (SeeNews) – Bulgaria and Romania should become members of the European Union's borderless Schengen area as soon as possible for the bloc to be able to step up protection of its external borders, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday.
“If we want to strengthen the protection of our external borders, then we need to open the Schengen area of free movement to Bulgaria and Romania immediately,” Jean-Claude Juncker said in his 2017 State of the Union Address before the members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“We should also allow Croatia to become a full Schengen member once it meets all the criteria,” he added.
With regard to the Western Balkans, the EU should maintain a credible enlargement perspective, despite being clear that there will be no further enlargement during the mandate of this Commission, Juncker said.
“But thereafter the European Union will be greater than 27 in number,” he said. “Accession candidates must give the rule of law, justice and fundamental rights utmost priority.”