Today: Thursday, 30 May 2024 year

The European Union has decided to gradually integrate Romania and Bulgaria into Schengen.

The European Union has decided to gradually integrate Romania and Bulgaria into Schengen.

The EU countries have agreed to abolish border controls within the Schengen zone for Romania and Bulgaria at sea and air borders, but they still remain at land borders, the European Commission said.

“The European Commission welcomes the unanimous decision of the EU Council to admit Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area, starting with the abolition of border controls at air and sea borders from March 2024. This step will stimulate travel, trade, tourism, and strengthen the internal market. Discussion of the next decision regarding the abolition of controls at land borders, will continue in 2024,” the statement said.


The expansion of the Schengen zone was discussed in early December, but the issue was not put to a vote due to lack of consensus.


At the beginning of December 2022, the Council of the European Union at the level of heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs agreed on the accession of Croatia to Schengen, but postponed decisions on Bulgaria and Romania. Then the admission of these countries was blocked by Austria, which explained its position by the weak efforts of Sofia and Bucharest to combat illegal migration.

The further integration of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area will depend on the fulfillment of conditions in this area. In particular, both republics will have to deal with migrants who entered the EU through their borders themselves, and not let them through to other states.


Schengen currently includes 27 countries: 23 EU states, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.