Bulgaria partially enters Schengen area-Xinhua

Bulgaria partially enters Schengen area

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-03-31 20:21:30

SOFIA, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Bulgaria along with its northern neighbor Romania partially joined the passport-free Schengen area on Sunday.

"On 31 March, Bulgaria and Romania become Schengen members: the Schengen rules will apply in both Member States including on issuing Schengen visas and controls at the internal air and sea borders will be lifted," the European Commission (EC) said in a press release.

The European Council greenlighted at the end of last year the partial entry of Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen zone, which encompasses most European Union (EU) countries.

Since Bulgaria's admission to the EU in 2007, this was the greatest success of the country's diplomacy, institutions and politicians, Bulgarian outgoing Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov said at a special ceremony at Sofia Airport on Sunday.

Yordanka Chobanova, head of the EC Representation in Bulgaria, said at the ceremony that in the past year alone, more than 10 million people passed through Bulgaria's airports, and these were mainly flights from and to the Schengen area.

"I am confident that we will have a date for the abolition of internal land border controls very soon, and the EC remains close to Bulgaria in this process," Chobanova said.

According to the EC, the Schengen area without control at its internal borders was one of EU citizens' most cherished achievements. "Besides facilitating free movement of people without internal border controls, Schengen significantly benefits Europe's economy," it said.