Today, the Commission reports on the State of Schengen over the past year and sets the priorities for the year ahead. The Schengen area has evolved into the world’s largest free travel area. Guaranteeing smooth and secure travel to a population of almost 450 million people, the Schengen area is essential for the European Union’s competitiveness.

In 2023, Schengen has remained strong and remains the most visited destination in the world. Over 10 million Schengen visas were issued, and more than half a billion passengers visited the Schengen area, reaching 92% of pre-pandemic 2019 levels. This has significantly contributed to the EU economy, as tourism contributes close to 10% of the EU’s GDP and provides jobs to about 22.6 million people.

The 2024 State of Schengen reports on the achievements, challenges and developments in the Schengen area during the last cycle of 2023-2024. The report shows that the Schengen rules are well applied, although there are some implementation gaps, for instance: a reinforced legislative framework, where work is required to put in place the new measures, including police cooperation, to phase out long-lasting internal border controls; an integrated Schengen governance framework, for which the Commission will continue to work towards more complete data analysis in close cooperation with the EU agencies and Member States; and historic steps to complete the Schengen area with Bulgaria and Romania, starting with lifting controls at air and sea borders as of 31 March 2024. A further Council Decision is needed for the lifting of checks at the internal land borders with Bulgaria and Romania.

Source: European Commission

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