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Oct 14, 2022 11:54 EEST
October 14 (SeeNews) - Joining the passport-free travel Schengen area could add 0.5 percentage points (pp) to Romania's annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth, finance minister Adrian Caciu said.
Romania and its southern neighbour Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 but are still not members of the bloc's Schengen area.
Romania's accession to Schengen will accelerate economic growth and will help balance the trade deficit, minister Adrian Caciu said in a televised statement on Thursday.
"The increase in the country's exports and an increase in exporters' competitiveness would be the main advantages of entering the Schengen Area. Consequently, the increase in exports results in both economic growth and a smaller trade deficit in goods, which is the greatest vulnerability of the Romanian economy at the moment," Caciu added.
Romania’s economic output rose by 5.9% in 2021, following a 3.7% contraction in the previous year.
In 2022, the country's GDP will increase by an estimated 3.5%, finance ministry analysts said in June.
Earlier this week, President Klaus Iohannis told Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte during a state visit that Romania has a "legitimate expectation" to enter Schengen. "Romania's accession will contribute to the security and consolidation of the Schengen Area. We hope that the political conditions for Romania's accession to Schengen will be met as soon as possible," Iohannis said on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, Czech European affairs minister Mikulas Bek said that EU governments are likely to vote in December on the proposed accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen.
Final approval for the two countries' accession can only be given after a unanimous vote in the European Council, a regular meeting of EU heads of state or ministers. At present, out of the 27-member bloc, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania remain outside the border-free area, of which Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are also members despite not being in the EU.
The Commission gave the green light to Bulgaria and Romania to join the Schengen area in June 2011 but The Netherlands and Finland blocked their accession. Currently, Bulgaria and Romania apply the Schengen acquis partially and checks are carried out at their borders.
(1 euro= 4.9416 lei)
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