Schengen Expansion: Bulgaria and Romania’s Path to Schengen Accession

Schengen Expansion: Bulgaria and Romania’s Path to Schengen Accession

The European Union has reached a pivotal decision that stands to reshape the landscape of its internal borders. 

After a prolonged journey of assessments and preparations, Bulgaria and Romania are on the brink of achieving a significant milestone in their EU membership by entering the Schengen area.

Bulgaria and Romania's path towards Schengen has been marked by a persistent commitment to meeting stringent criteria. From their confirmation of readiness in 2011 to the ongoing evaluations by the European Commission, both nations have consistently demonstrated their preparedness for Schengen membership.

Controls at sea and air borders with Romania and Bulgaria will be lifted as of March 31, 2024, the Council of the EU, which represents EU countries, said in a statement on December 30.

“A further decision should be taken by the Council to establish a date for the lifting of checks at internal land borders,”

EU Council's statement

The European Commission said talks on removing controls at land borders will continue in 2024.

“A decision by the Council on this matter is expected to be taken within a reasonable time frame,”

EU Council's statement

This will be the ninth enlargement of the Schengen Area, which was first established in 1985 by France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

An expanded Schengen area promises to fortify the European Union, providing reinforced external borders, facilitating smoother travel and trade, and fostering a more cohesive and prosperous Union for its citizens.

The imminent entry of Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen area represents more than a mere bureaucratic milestone; it embodies a shared vision of a more unified Europe.

Do you think Bulgaria and Romania will finally join Schengen this year? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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