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Bulgaria and Romania will partly integrate the Schengen area

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The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called the announcement a “historic moment.”

Radio-Canada

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Bulgaria and Romania will partially integrate the Schengen area of ​​free movement in the European Union, from March 31, announced the 27 on the night of Saturday to Sunday.

The 27 EU Member States have unanimously agreed to lift controls at the air and sea borders, internal to the EU, of these two countries from 31 March, announced a press release from the 27 in Brussels. This date was chosen because it corresponds to the transition from winter schedules to those planned for summer by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), according to this text.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The 27 will have to take a new decision to choose the date for lifting controls at the land borders, internal to the EU, of Romania and Bulgaria, added this press release from the Council of the EU, an institution which represents the Member States.

The European Commission, for its part, welcomed this decision, which comes after no less than 12 years of negotiations .

Today marks a historic moment for Bulgaria and Romania, and a day of great pride for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.

The Commission recalled that it had considered since 2011 that these two countries were ready to join the Schengen area.

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At the end of 2022, Austria had refused Romania and Bulgaria, members of the EU since 2007, membership in the Schengen area within which more than 400 million of people can travel freely without internal border controls.

Austria vetoed it last year to protest against an arrival too many illegal immigrants on its territory, before agreeing to lift it in exchange for guarantees.

Sofia and Bucharest accepted to fight further against irregular immigration in a joint declaration signed on Saturday with Vienna.

Bulgaria and Romania also commit to fully apply European law, which provides that asylum requests be processed in the migrant's country of arrival.

Established in 1985, the Schengen area includes 23 of the 27 EU member countries as well as their associated neighbors Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

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