The European Union has agreed to allow another two countries, Bulgaria and Romania for passport-free movement within the bloc. There had been resistance from other member countries, despite both the coutries being EU members since 2007. Bulgaria and Romania did not fare well so far in EU ranking regarding corruption. There had been concernes about organized crime, and border security as well in comparison with the EU average. Austria was the last stumbling block on the way to the two countires being alowed. Now Austria also has given it’s consent.
With the inclusion of two balkan countires, the travel itinerary of Europe will get a new fillip for the travellers from March onwards. The Schengen system rules for visa will allow the tourists with valid schengen visa to visit the two countites also without requiring separate visa.
The relaxation focuses on air travel and sea travel. For land travel, Austria is still wary. Austria is keen to guard it’s borders against illegal immigration. Austria is also seeking additional EU funds to strengthen it’s border controls. The cause of concern for Austria had been hosting migrants from Syria and Afghanistan in recent years.
The inclusin in Schengen Visa-free bloc would mean enourmous economic advantage for Bulgaria and Romania, especially with reduced wait time for commercial travel from Greece and Turkey across the Danube River. The new development also mark a significant step towards Bulgaria and Romania’s path to progress. It will also help the countires reach more homogenity with EU standards and norms.
Created in 1985, Schengen system includes 23 of the 27 EU member states, as well as their associated neighbours. Germany, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland are the countries that can be visits on visa accorded by any of the counties listed.
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