Cyprus Sets Sights on Schengen Area Accession by 2024
Cyprus is gearing up for Schengen Area membership, eyeing 2024 as the pivotal year for its inclusion in the passport-free zone.
A full-fledged member of the European Union since May 1, 2004, Cyprus has yet to secure a spot within the Schengen area.
Highlighting the country's foreign policy agenda for the upcoming year, Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos emphasised the prioritisation of Cyprus' Schengen Area accession and inclusion in the US Visa Waiver program, underscoring their significance during a recent statement on November 21.
The Schengen Area's essence lies in its seamless borders, enabling unrestricted movement for most EU citizens and non-EU nationals holding a Schengen visa. Within this zone, travellers can traverse countries without encountering passport checks or bureaucratic formalities.
Non-EU visitors to Europe can obtain a Schengen visa, granting them a 90-day stay within any member state.
Currently, Cypriot citizens enjoy visa-free travel privileges across all EU member states, reciprocated by similar ease of access for citizens of these nations to Cyprus.
At present, Cyprus is undergoing the Schengen evaluation process in order to determine the readiness of this country to become part of the Schengen Area. The country now must show that it can maintain border integrity and security.
Additionally, compliance with Schengen regulations necessitates extensive cooperation among national law enforcement and judicial systems. Cyprus took a significant step forward in this realm by gaining access to the Schengen Information System (SIS) for bolstering security and border management in Europe in July 2023.
Benefits of Schengen Membership for Cyprus
Despite being an island nation with inherent geographical limitations, Cyprus anticipates considerable advantages from Schengen Area inclusion.
In 2019, Cyprus welcomed nearly four million visitors, generating a tourism revenue of 2.7 billion Euros—an industry contributing over 20 percent to the country's GDP.
Facilitating easier access to Cyprus through Schengen membership is projected to stimulate tourism further, fostering economic growth.
Moreover, Cyprus foresees an upsurge in immigration and cross-border trade, leveraging enhanced connectivity within the Schengen framework.
Eliminating rigorous border controls translates to increased efficiency and productivity. Direct and swift entry into Cyprus empowers workers to contribute immediately to the local economy, mitigating downtime and elevating overall productivity.
Cyprus's bid to join the Schengen Area has the potential to bring about major economic and sociological benefits, moving the country towards a more integrated and dynamic European landscape.
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