Bulgaria and Romania partially join EU’s visa-free Schengen zone



More than a decade after joining the bloc, Romania and Bulgaria on Sunday joined at least some other EU members in entering the visa-free Schengen zone.

Travelers can now move between the two Eastern European countries and the rest of the EU by sea or air without having to go through visa and passport controls.

However, due to Austria’s veto, the overland route was not included due to concerns that it would make it easier for non-EU migrants to enter other EU countries.

“This is a huge success for both countries,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday.

“This is a historic moment for the Schengen Area, the largest free movement area in the world. Together we are building a stronger, more united Europe for all its citizens.”

The Schengen Area consists of the other 25 EU member states and the non-EU countries Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Romania said it would conduct random checks to prevent forgery of travel documents and combat human trafficking.

The two countries hope to become full members of the Schengen Area by the end of this year. They are the only two EU member states that do not enjoy the full benefits of Schengen. Even Croatia, which joined the Schengen area after Romania and Bulgaria, was fully included in the Schengen area last January.



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By Ali Raza

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