Bulgaria and Romania to Join Schengen Agreement: Sea and Air Borders Open from March

Bucharest

The European Commission (EC) has announced that Bulgaria and Romania, member states of the European Union (EU), will join the Schengen Agreement.

The decision was made unanimously at the Council meeting held in Brussels, Belgium. From March, border checks for movements between Schengen member states will be abolished for sea and air routes. Discussions regarding the inclusion of land borders will continue. Both countries had indicated their intention to prepare for participation in the Schengen Agreement as early as 2011.

The Schengen Agreement allows for free movement within the borders of its member countries and was initiated in 1985 as an intergovernmental project between France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Today, it encompasses 27 countries, covering an area of approximately 4 million square kilometers and a population of around 420 million. With this expansion, the Schengen Agreement sees its ninth enlargement.

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