Bulgaria, Romania Partially Join Europe's Schengen Area

  • Bulgaria and Romania have partially joined Europe's Schengen Area of free movement, further deepening their integration within the EU after years of negotiation. Associated Press (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • A Sofia-Bucharest flight — in which passengers were spared from border control procedures in both countries for the first time — took off at 12.40 p.m. local time on Sunday to symbolically mark the two nations' accession. Novinite.com
  • However, more staff will reportedly be deployed to airports to detect passengers attempting to leave Romania illegally, catch those traveling with false documents, and fight human trafficking. France 24
  • The new status only applies to air and sea borders, as checks will remain on land routes due to a veto from Austria over concerns about a potential influx of asylum seekers. Euronews
  • According to Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu, land border checks between the two nations and Schengen countries could also be lifted by the end of this year. Romania Insider
  • With the partial membership of Bulgaria and Romania, the Schengen Area (established in 1985) now comprises 29 countries and allows more than 400M people in the EU to travel without internal border controls. Al Jazeera (LR: 2 CP: 1)

Pro-establishment narrative:

  • Europe has finally started to address one of its most important integration issues, as European citizens from Bulgaria and Romania used to feel like second-class members due to their exclusion from the Schengen Area. Hopefully, it won't be long until the EU effectively becomes an inclusive, unified community.

Establishment-critical narrative:

  • It's hard to understand why the long-established opposition to expanding the Schengen Area has rapidly waned to allow the recent accession of Bulgaria, Romania, and Kosovo. Little explanation has been given, and the consequences of their accession have yet to be determined.

Nerd narrative:

  • There's a 50% chance that Bulgaria and Romania will have open borders with all Schengen Area members by March 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
    METACULUS (LR: 3 CP: 3)
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