On Sunday, Romania and Bulgaria made a big step by joining a special travel zone in Europe called the Schengen area. This means people can now travel to and from these countries by air and sea without having to show their ID at the border. However, if they are traveling by land, they still need to go through checks.

Romania and Bulgaria Step Into Schengen Zone, Air and Sea Borders Open
Romania and Bulgaria joined the Schengen area, allowing air and sea travel without ID checks. They aim for full entry, despite Austria's concerns over illegal migration.
(Photo : Screenshot image taken from FRANCE 24 English on YouTube)

Romania and Bulgaria Joined the Schengen Travel Zone

This change is a part of Romania and Bulgaria's journey to become closer to the European Union (EU). They have been trying to join this travel zone for many years. The Schengen area allows people to travel freely between certain countries in Europe without stopping for ID checks. Before Romania and Bulgaria joined, 23 out of 27 EU countries, along with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, were already in this zone.

As per AP News, the decision to let Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen zone partially was celebrated by many. Ursula von der Leyen, who leads the EU Commission, called it a "huge success" and a "historic moment." Despite this step forward, Austria has been against Romania and Bulgaria joining completely because of worries about illegal migration. This is why land border checks are still in place.

Officials from both Romania and Bulgaria are happy about this change. They believe it will make traveling easier for millions of people every year. Also, it is expected to help the economy by making it easier for tourists to visit.

In the future, both countries hope to join the Schengen area fully, which would mean no more border checks on land either. But for now, Romania and Bulgaria are celebrating this important step in their relationship with the rest of Europe.

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Romania and Bulgaria Ease Passport Checks at Airports

On Sunday, airports in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Bucharest, Romania, made a big change. They stopped checking passports for people flying to or from most places in the European Union. 

Last year, Romania and Bulgaria agreed to allow free travel by air and sea. However, they could not fully join the Schengen zone because Austria was worried about illegal immigration. Austria wants both countries to work harder to stop people from crossing borders illegally.

Mincho Yurukov, a traveler from Bulgaria, shared his happiness about this change. As shared by Reuters, he said it makes flying much nicer because there are no more checks. This makes him feel more connected to Europe.

Leaders from both Romania and Bulgaria are looking forward to removing all border checks. This means in the future, people might not need to show passports at road and rail crossings either. Ursula von der Leyen, a top official in the European Union, praised this step. She said it's good news for both countries and makes Europe stronger.

Romania and Bulgaria are also working with other countries to control illegal immigration. They want to be fully part of the Schengen zone soon, making travel easier for everyone.

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