From 31 March 2024, there will no longer be checks on people at EU internal air and maritime borders between Bulgaria and Romania and the other countries in the Schengen area. This date aligns with the change of the winter/summer schedule set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The EU Commission hailed the move as a major step forward for both countries. “Romania and Bulgaria’s accession will make Schengen stronger – fortifying this ‘crown jewel’ so emblematic of our European way of life, to the benefit of the internal market, our economies and European citizens everywhere,” said EC vice-president Margaritis Schinas. Discussions on a further decision to lift controls at land borders are to continue in 2024.
The Schengen area comprises 27 countries and extends over 4 million square kilometers with a population of almost 420 million people. With Romania and Bulgaria, the Schengen area will grow to 4.5 million square kilometers with a population of 450 million.
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