JEF Europe News: Open letter to the Home Affairs Ministers of Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria

Ms Maria Malmer Stenergard
Minister for Migration, Sweden

Ms Hanke Bruins Slot
Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Netherlands

Mr Eric van der Burg
State Secretary for Justice and Security, the Netherlands

Mr Gerhard Karner
Federal Minister of the Interior, Austria

Dear Minister Bruins Slot, dear State Secretary van der Burg,
Dear Minister Karner,
Dear Minister Strömmer, dear Minister Malmer Stenergard,

We, young European activists, can no longer accept the discrimination of fellow EU citizens. It is time to finally approve the membership of Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania in the Schengen Area at the upcoming EU Justice and Home Affairs Council. The citizens of all EU Member States should be able to fully enjoy their freedom of movement guaranteed by the Treaties.

Europe has been divided by artificial borders between people for too long. The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and the subsequent EU enlargements laid foundations for more unity on the continent. However, unnecessary obstacles to the freedom of movement still remain in place partially due to the absence of Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania from the Schengen Area. 

Bulgaria and Romania successfully completed the Schengen evaluation process already in 2011, while Croatia’s membership was green-lit by the European Commission last year. Moreover, the Commission recently confirmed progress had been sufficient for the monitoring of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism of Romania to stop, as it did with Bulgaria in 2019.

The European Parliament has repeatedly called for the admission of Bulgaria and Romania to the border-free area. In the current situation, their citizens cannot fully enjoy their freedom of movement guaranteed by the EU Treaties, facing systematic discrimination compared to those belonging to Schengen. Thus, their EU citizenship is effectively a second-class one, which is furthering political disillusionment and anti-EU resentment in the region and cannot be the case in a Union based on equality and solidarity.

The Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8-9 December is the opportunity to resolve this situation. On behalf of an NGO gathering over 10,000 young activists advocating for a more united and democratic Europe, we urge you to approve the Schengen membership of Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. 

We remain at your disposal should you wish to discuss our appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Open letter in German

Open letter in Dutch

Open letter in Swedish

Antonio Argenziano


Young European Federalists

Anna van de Moosdijk


JEF Netherlands

Eduardo Alvarado


JEF Austria

Johan Graff Andersson


JEF Sweden

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