Bulgaria and Romania to Join Europe's Schengen Area in March, Breaking Past Obstacles

Bulgaria and Romania to Join Europes Schengen Area in March, Breaking Past Obstacles

Bulgaria and Romania are set to join Europe's passport- and visa-free Schengen Area in March, after receiving permission from regional stakeholders. The move, initially allowing travel by air and sea, comes after Austria's agreement over continued negotiations for border checks when crossing from the two countries by land. Both countries have been blocked from joining the Schengen Area by Austria in the past, citing concerns about illegal immigration.

However, following negotiations, an agreement has been reached to enable Bulgaria and Romania's partial admission. Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov emphasized the combined approach of negotiations with Austria and substantial support from the European Commission to protect the EU's external borders in order to reduce the flow of illegal migrants into Europe.

Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu confirmed his country's admission into the border-free travel zone and expressed that efforts will continue next year to fully join the Schengen Area. Critics of Austria's past rejection allege that it was fueled by the growing popularity of the country's far-right Freedom Party. This development represents a significant step forward for Bulgaria and Romania, as they look forward to enjoying the benefits of the Schengen Area and expanding their travel opportunities by land, air, and sea.

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