From March 31, 2024, the Moldovan citizens who hold Romanian nationality too will benefit from a part of the Schengen Agreement advantages as there will no longer be checks on persons at EU internal air and maritime borders between Romania and the other countries in the Schengen area. EU member states at the end of last year reached an agreement on removing air and maritime internal border controls with Bulgaria and Romania.
According to the document quoted by IPN, during 2024 the Council of the EU will make efforts to take a decision concerning the lifting of checks at internal land borders. Austria, which vetoed the entry of the two countries a year ago, put forward the idea of what it called “Air Schengen” at the beginning of December. It said it was prepared to relax the rules governing air traffic for Bulgaria and Romania if Brussels strengthened the EU’s external borders. The move was part of intense negotiations mediated by the Spanish rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.
In practical terms, “Schengen Air” means that, in future, passengers from Romania and Bulgaria will no longer have to fly to Europe via foreign terminals. As usual, the passport will be checked at the gate by the airlines, with the additional support of the Austrian and Romanian or Bulgarian police.
Romanian MEP Victor Negrescu listed several social and economic benefits that Romanians will enjoy starting March next year, including: “Romanian citizens will move more easily to other states in the Schengen area, gaining a right they deserved. We are talking about millions of passengers annually. This also means that Romanians in the diaspora can more easily return home by air, benefiting from the numerous existing airports in Romania, many of which are in the process of expansion and modernization. Basically, we economically amortize these key investments and develop airport infrastructure.”
Austria, Bulgaria and Romania commit to later agree on a date for the end of land checks, the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU informed.
The Schengen area comprises 27 countries – 23 EU member states and four non-EU states – and extends over 4.3 million square kilometers with a population of 423 million people.