France Against Romania, Bulgaria Joining Schengen Zone

“If there is not a change in conditions, we won’t be in favour,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said of a forthcoming European Union decision on whether to grant passport-free movement to these citizens beginning January 1, 2014. His comments came amid fierce debate within France’s ruling coalition over the treatment of the Roma population. Some 20,000 Roma migrants from Romania and Bulgaria live in hundreds of squalid make-shift camps on the outskirts of French cities. Tensions with local communities have made Roma migration a contentious issue ahead of municipal elections next year. Romanian and Bulgarian citizens currently have the right to travel with a passport throughout the Schengen zone, which removes border controls among most EU countries as well as non-members such as Switzerland and Norway. Temporary restrictions that imposed passport checks were put in place when the two countries joined the EU in 2007, and are due to be lifted in January. But each EU country has the right to veto the admission of a member state into the Schengen zone and a vote is expected before the end of the year. Germany said in March that it too opposed the entry of the two countries into the zone. Fabius said France was concerned about the ability of Romanian and Bulgarian authorities to ensure border security. “People coming from outside Europe could enter Romania and Bulgaria and then freely enter the rest of Europe,” Fabius told France Inter radio. “There’s a problem there, we must be sure that Bulgaria and Romania have the means to verify that.

Friendly France

She says that the cost of education in France is just one-third of what it costs in the U.S. or the U.K.. This is a great attraction for Indian students, she adds. Apart from engineering courses, students from India prefer to pursue post-graduate and doctoral courses in France, say experts. We get a lot of enquires for doctoral research and a good number of students who take up undergraduate courses wish to continue their masters and doctoral research in France, says Ms. Vidya. Management courses offered by French institutes are in great demand as the country offers specialisations such as luxury management and aviation management. A large fraction of students want to take up M.Sc in Finance and International Business as an alternative to traditional MBA courses, shares Chetnesh Mishra, a representative of Toulouse Business School in Toulouse, France. French proficiency Students preparing to join a French institute need not fret about learning French or taking up any crash course as the country has about 800 English-taught courses on offer for foreign students, says Ms. Sapna. She adds that students need to have a B2 level proficiency in French to take up courses offered by the public universities that offer courses only in French. Students are also not required to take up TOEFL or IELTS to get English language proficiency certificates, she adds. We do not ask for TOEFL or IELTS scores as we are well aware that the Indian curriculum is taught in English and that the level of English used by Indian students is pretty high, says Laurence Mariet-Sanchez of the International Promotions and Recruitment Department of KEDGE Business School based in Marseille and Bordeaux. Students looking to choose colleges in France must shortlist the course they wish to pursue and choose an appropriate college that offers programmes in English, advices Ms. Sapna.