Austria to loosen up air, sea borders with Romania and Bulgaria | EUROtoday

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Romania and Bulgaria have reached an settlement with Austria to affix the European Schengen space of free motion by sea and air in March 2024, the Romanian authorities mentioned Wednesday.

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“After 13 years, Romania is finally going to join Schengen! We have a political agreement on this,” Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu wrote on Facebook.

The Romanian inside ministry mentioned in an announcement {that a} “political agreement” had been reached between the three nations on extending the zone “to the air and sea borders” of Romania and Bulgaria “from March 2024”.

The query of the opening of land borders has been postponed till discussions to be held subsequent 12 months.

Austria, which vetoed the entry of the 2 nations a 12 months in the past, put ahead the concept of what it referred to as “Air Schengen” at the start of December.

It mentioned it was ready to loosen up the foundations governing air site visitors for Bulgaria and Romania if Brussels strengthened the EU’s exterior borders.

Romania and Bulgaria, each members of the EU since 2007, had been rejected on the finish of 2022 from the huge zone inside which greater than 400 million folks can journey freely with out inner border controls.

Their purposes had been vetoed by Austria, which has been complaining for years that it has to place up with a disproportionate quantity of unlawful immigration because of poorly protected exterior Schengen borders.

The Schengen space was created in 1985 and contains 23 of the 27 EU member states in addition to their related neighbours Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.