Romania and Bulgaria's Schengen Accession

Tags: International News

On March 31, Romania and Bulgaria formally joined, at least partially, Europe's visa-free Schengen travel area.

An Overview of the News

Statements from political leaders:

  • Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov called the event a "big victory" for Bulgaria, emphasizing its historical significance.

  • Despite his resignation, Denkov remains in office, highlighting the achievement as Bulgaria's "greatest success" since joining the EU.

  • Deputy Prime Minister Maria Gabriel echoed this sentiment, calling it a "historic moment" with benefits for various sectors.

  • Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu qualified the achievement with plans for full Schengen accession by the end of the year.

European Commission Perspective

  • European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen praised the development as a "great success" for both countries and a historic moment for the Schengen area.

  • They emphasized the shared goal of building a stronger, more united Europe.

Implications and Challenges

  • Free movement for flights and boats is allowed, land routes are restricted due to Austrian objections.

  • Both countries aim to open land borders by the end of 2024, awaiting the opportune political moment for full integration.

  • The Schengen area, established in 1985, covers 29 European countries and allows more than 400 million people to travel freely without internal border controls.

Reactions and Concerns

  • While welcome, ongoing border checks on the roads have caused frustration among truck drivers, leading to calls for urgent measures for full Schengen integration.

  • Long wait times at the border have caused significant financial losses to Romanian carriers, leading to calls for faster progress.

  • Bulgarian businesses also express disappointment at the slow progress, especially concerning land transport.


  • Southeastern European country.

  • Known for the forests of Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains.

  • It includes well-preserved medieval cities such as Sighisoara.

  • Famous for fortified churches and castles, including Bran Castle associated with Dracula.

  • Capital: Bucharest, home of the communist-era Palatul Parlamentului government building.


  • The Balkan nation with diverse geography.

  • It includes the Black Sea coast, the mountainous interior and rivers such as the Danube.

  • Cultural diversity with influences from Greek, Slavic, Ottoman and Persian civilizations.

  • Capital city: Sofia, located at the base of Mount Vitosha, dates back to the 5th century BC.

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