Von der Leyen: Schengen is a great success for Bulgaria and Romania

On March 31, Bulgaria and Romania will join the Schengen area: in both member states, all Schengen rules will now apply, including for the issuance of Schengen visas, and control at internal air and sea borders will be abolished, the EC announced.

The European Commission warmly welcomes this achievement – ​​it is a continuation of the historic decision of the EU Council in December 2023. The accession of the two countries makes it more attractive and significantly expands the world's largest common area without internal border controls.

On the eve of the enlargement of the Schengen area, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: "Tomorrow is an important day: Bulgaria and Romania are joining the Schengen family. I welcome the abolition of internal air and sea border controls. This is a great success for both countries. And also a historic moment for the Schengen area — the largest area of ​​free movement in the world. Together we are building a stronger and more united Europe for all our citizens."

Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said: "The accession of Romania and Bulgaria makes Schengen stronger - this 'jewel in the crown' that is emblematic of our European way of life and benefits the internal market, our economies and European citizens everywhere. I warmly congratulate both parties on the hard work you have put in to get this far—it is a long-deserved achievement. We will continue to walk together on the way forward.”

Home Affairs Commissioner Ilva Johansson added: "From today, Bulgaria and Romania will fully implement the Schengen acquis, which will make the EU stronger and safer with better protection of our external borders, will change the lives of millions of people and it will make traveling easier. I am proud of the work done by so many people both in Romania and Bulgaria. Today, internal border controls will be abolished at air and sea borders. The next step is to remove checks at internal land borders as well. The discussion in the Council will continue this year. I promise that this will be a priority until the end of my mandate." /BGNES