Bulgaria And Romania Join Schengen Area

(MENAFN- AzerNews) On March 31, Bulgaria and Romania became Schengen members: theSchengen rules will apply in both Member States including onissuing Schengen visas and controls at the internal air and seaborders will be lifted, Azernews reports citing European Commission .

"The Commission strongly welcomes this achievement, whichfollows the historic Council decision of December 2023. TheSchengen accession of these two Member States will make the commonarea more attractive by significantly expanding the world's largestcommon area without internal border controls," the EC said in apress statement.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said:“I welcome the lifting of internal air and sea border checks. Thisis a great success for both countries. And a historic moment forthe Schengen area - the largest area of free movement in the world, we are building a stronger, more united Europe for allour citizens.”

"Since last December, both Member States have taken allnecessary measures to ensure a smooth application of the Schengenrules as from 31 March 2024. The Cooperation Frameworks launchedearlier this March by the Commission together with Bulgaria andRomania build on the successful implementation of the pilotprojects for fast asylum and return procedures. With theseCooperation Frameworks, Romania and Bulgaria will furthercontribute to strengthening the cooperation on border andmigration, as well as to the joint European efforts to address EUsecurity at external borders and migratory challenges.

Furthermore, a regional initiative on police cooperation wasestablished between Member States along the Western Balkan andEastern Mediterranean routes, including Bulgaria, Romania, Austria,Greece, Hungary and Slovakia. This will allow to address relatedchallenges jointly and in a sustainable manner, including asregards cross-border crime.

Bulgaria and Romania have continuously demonstrated a high levelof commitment in ensuring an adequate protection of the EU externalborders and have constantly acted as key contributors to theinternal security of the Schengen area," the European Commissionsaid.



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