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Bulgaria and Romania partially joins Europe’s Schengen Area

Utkarsh Classes 01-04-2024
Bulgaria and Romania partially joins Europe’s Schengen Area International news 4 min read

Romania and Bulgaria have partially joined the Schengen Area, the ID-check-free travel zone in Europe. 

  • This is an important step in the integration of both countries with the European Union. After years of negotiations, passengers arriving by air or sea from both countries now have free access to the Schengen area. 
  • However, land border checks will continue mainly due to opposition from Austria which has long blocked his bid over illegal migration concerns.
  • The Schengen Area, established in 1985, comprises 23 of the 27 EU member states, together with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. 
  • Prior to the inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania, around 3.5 million individuals would cross the internal border every day.

Austria vetoed Romania and Bulgaria entry into the Schengen area at the end of 2022 but allowed Croatia full entry. Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, and Croatia in 2013.

About Schengen Area

  • The Schengen Area is a region consisting of certain European countries that have abolished passport and other types of border control at their mutual borders. 
  • This agreement ensures that more than 425 million EU citizens, as well as those who are resident in the EU, visiting the EU as tourists, exchange students, or for business purposes can move freely within the area. Additionally, it also guarantees free movement to non-EU citizens who are legally present in the EU.
  • Free movement of persons enables every EU citizen to travel, work and live in an EU country without special formalities. Schengen underlines this freedom by enabling citizens to move around within the Schengen area without being subject to border checks.

Member countries

  • Today, the Schengen Area includes most EU countries except Cyprus and Ireland. Bulgaria and Romania became the newest member states to join the Schengen area as of 31 March 2024, and anyone crossing internal air and sea borders will no longer be screened.
  • However, a unanimous decision on lifting checks on individuals at internal land borders is still expected to be taken by the Council at a later date. 
  • Furthermore, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, which are non-EU states, have also become a part of the Schengen Area.

FAQ

Answer: Bulgaria and Romania

Answer: Cyprus and Ireland

Answer: it allows free movement in EU Areas
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