EU Schengen Area Expands to Include Romania and Bulgaria, 9th Enlargement

At approximately 1600 today, the European Union Commission approved the expansion of the Schengen Area to include Romania and Bulgaria, specifically their air and maritime boundaries, there are several steps remaining to include their land borders.

This comes after days of speculation after media and the Romanian Prime Minister himself told press that his country was joining two days ago. The announcement from the EU reads below:

”The Commission welcomes today’s unanimous decision by the Council to welcome Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area, starting with lifting controls at air and sea borders as of March 2024. Their accession will boost travel, trade and tourism and will further consolidate the internal market. Discussions on a further decision to lift controls at land borders will continue in 2024. An enlarged Schengen area will make the EU stronger as a Union, internally and on the global stage.”

EU President von der Leyen said: “Today marks a historic moment for Bulgaria and Romania. And a day of great pride for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens. As of March, they will be able to freely cross internal sea and air borders, without border controls. This is a major step forward for both countries and for the Schengen area as a whole. Congratulations to Bulgaria and Romania: this great achievement is possible thanks to your hard work, commitment and perseverance. Thanks to you the Schengen area will become even stronger to the benefit of all EU citizens.”

The Schengen Area is an area comprising 29 European countries that have officially abolished passports and many other types of border control at their mutual borders. Being an element within the wider area of freedom, security and justice policy of the European Union (EU), it mostly functions as a single jurisdiction under a common visa policy for international travel purposes.

Throughout 2024, the EU is expected to make several more inspections of Romania and Bulgaria’s land borders to certify it for the Schengen Area. However, risks currently exist within the countries’ border security which does not allow citizens to travel freely via land between the EU and the aforementioned countries.

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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