Now official: Austria confirms Schengen agreement with Romania and Bulgaria

As the Interior Ministry confirmed to the APA on Saturday, a corresponding legally binding text was sent to the Spanish EU Presidency on Friday evening. Romania had announced the agreement days ago.

The agreement means that travelers from Romania and Bulgaria will no longer have to fly to other EU countries via the international terminals in the future. Passports are checked at the gate by the airlines with the support of the police. In a press release, the domestic industry spoke of an “important step” as the agreement not only makes things easier for travelers but also for companies. Business also welcomed the partial agreement in the Schengen dispute. As the APA was told, a strong European economy can only take place in a “strong European internal market”.

You might also be interested in: Breakthrough in Schengen expansion? Interior Minister slows down

According to the Interior Ministry, all EU member states must first agree to the agreement for implementation. The earliest possible date for the introduction of the regulation would be March 2024, as the flight schedules will be changed this month. At the same time, the Interior Ministry noted that there are currently no negotiations and therefore no date regarding full accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the border-free Schengen area.

It was said that Austria’s three conditions for the agreement were also recorded in the transmitted text. These include increasing the deployment of the EU border protection agency Frontex in Romania and Bulgaria as well as money from the EU Commission for external border protection in these countries, strengthening controls at land borders and accepting asylum seekers from Austria, especially from Afghanistan and Syria Romania and Bulgaria.

On December 8, 2022, Austria blocked an expansion of the border-free Schengen system to include Romania and Bulgaria, citing the high number of asylum seekers. The Netherlands also opposed Bulgaria joining Schengen.


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