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European Union agrees to the gradual entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area

The countries of European Union (EU) unanimously agreed this Saturday on the gradual entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen free movement zone after Austria, the last country of the Twenty-Seven that opposed the measure, lifted its veto.

The decision implies that, from March onwards, controls on internal air and sea borders with those two countries – which joined the EU in 2007 – will be eliminated, with the commitment, in addition to Austria, Bulgaria and Romania to later reach an agreement on the date for the end of ground controls, informed the current Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU.

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Congratulations to the citizens of Romania and Bulgaria for extending Schengen to sea and air passengers.” appointed the President of the European Council, Carlos Michelthrough your profile on the social network X (formerly Twitter).

Michel highlighted that it is “a long-awaited step so that Romanian and Bulgarian citizens can enjoy easier freedom of movement, with the prospect of land transport in the future.”

Sources from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior described the agreement – ​​which culminates twelve years of negotiations – as “historic” and assured that it was one of the priorities of the Spanish presidency of the EU Council, which ends tomorrow.

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They also stated that the progressive lifting of controls at the internal borders of Bulgaria and Romania will “strengthen and expand” the European area of ​​free movement and facilitate the movement of millions of people, with “a very positive social and economic impact throughout the region . ” ”.

Austria today confirmed the withdrawal of its veto to the agreement, which was already announced on Wednesday by Romania and, on Thursday, by Bulgaria.

Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacuassured on Wednesday that the agreement would also include sea travel, which would benefit the Black Sea port of Constanta, and was confident that full membership would be negotiated in 2024.

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Although the European Commission and the European Parliament have ensured for years that Bulgaria and Romania, EU members since 2007, are prepared to enter Schengen, Austria has until now blocked their entry.

The Schengen Treaty establishes the lifting of border controls between its Member States, which currently cover 4.3 million square kilometers and 423 million citizens from 27 European countries (23 EU members and 4 non-EU members).

Source: Elcomercio

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