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Bulgaria and Romania overcome Austria’s objections and get partial approval to join Schengen Area – Times of India

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SOFIA: Bulgaria and Romania have received permission to join Europe’s passport- and visa-free Schengen Area starting in March, the governments of the two countries said. The move initially will apply only to travelers arriving by air and sea, while Austria has committed to continuing negotiations over the need for border checks when crossing from the two countries by land, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov told reporters Thursday.
Austria previously blocked Bulgaria’s and Romania’s entry into the Schengen Area over concerns about illegal immigration but reached an agreement in principle with the two fellow European Union members.
“Negotiations with Austria will be combined with substantial support from the European Commission to protect the EU’s external borders with Turkey and Serbia in order to reduce the flow of illegal migrants to Europe,” Denkov added.
Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu confirmed the admission of his country into the border-free travel zone. “We have a political agreement on this!” Ciolacu said in a social media post. “From March next year, Romanians will enjoy the benefits of the Schengen Area by air and sea.”
The Schengen Area was established in 1985. Before Bulgaria and Romania’s partial admission, it comprised 23 of the 27 EU member countries along with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.
Austria vetoed Romania and Bulgaria’s admission into the group of European countries at the end of 2022.
Critics of this move alleged the Alpine nation’s rejection was fueled by the growing popularity in opinion polls of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party.



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