Austria has confirmed the agreement with Bulgaria and Romania on the inclusion of the two countries’ air and sea ports in the Schengen zone, Bulgarian National Television (BNT) reported on December 30, citing the Austrian Interior Ministry.
The text of the agreement was sent to the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union on the night of December 29, the ministry said, according to BNT.
The earliest possible entry date is March 2024, Austrian media said.
The agreement means that travellers from Romania and Bulgaria will in future not be subject to border controls when flying to other European Union countries, the report said. As usual, though not passing through passport control, the identity document will be checked at the gate by the airline with additional support from the Austrian and Romanian or Bulgarian police.
According to the Austrian Interior Ministry, no negotiations are currently underway regarding the inclusion of Bulgaria’s and Romania’s land borders and thus full accession to Schengen.
Austrian newspaper Kurier said that all three demands by Vienna had been taken into account, according to a report by Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).
These are increasing the presence of Frontex in Bulgaria and Romania, more funds from the European Commission for the stable protection of the external borders, strengthening the control of the land borders and for Bulgaria and Romania to accept asylum seekers, especially from Afghanistan and Syria, that seek asylum in Austria.
Bulgaria’s government told BNR that it would not comment on the subject of the phased admission of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen until the negotiations with Austria are completed and while no binding legal document has been approved.
Austria has been the sole remaining member of the Schengen zone not to have given its consent to the admission of Bulgaria and Romania to the zone, after Parliament in the Netherlands gave its consent on December 21.
(Photo: Kaihsu-Tai, via Wikimedia Commons)
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