Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Europe's border-free zone expands

2 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

Filed: Timeline


Europe's border-free zone expands

Forty-eight hours of celebrations are taking place to mark nine new states joining a European border-free zone.

The Schengen agreement, which allows passport-free travel across the area, now embraces 24 nations.

Some 2,000 people celebrated in the town of Frankfurt on Oder at Germany's border with Poland, amid fireworks and the EU anthem, Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined the zone.

http://' target="_blank">

Speaking in Zittau, close to where Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic meet, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was a "truly historic moment".

Mrs Merkel was joined by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, his Czech counterpart Mirek Topolanek and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Crime wave fears

On Thursday a checkpoint between Austria and Slovakia was dismantled in one of several events marking the enlargement from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer sawed through a barrier at the Berg border crossing.

Mr Fico said: "From midnight tonight you can travel 4,000km (2,485 miles) from Tallinn in Estonia to Lisbon in Portugal without any border controls."

Mr Gusenbauer welcomed the extension of the Schengen zone, rejecting fears that it might create a crime wave in Austria.

The European Commission says that one billion euros (£720m) has been spent on beefing up security on the new EU frontiers, including the establishing of missions along the Polish and Slovak borders.

Initially the lifting of internal controls involves just land and sea borders, but that will be extended to airports at the end of March 2008.

Vast database

Although the enlargement allows passport-free transit throughout the area, travellers can be asked to carry documents by any of the countries concerned.

For non-EU nationals, a Schengen visa allows travel across all the participating countries.

Thirteen existing EU states have already been part of the Schengen accord as well as two non-EU countries, Norway and Iceland.

The UK and Ireland are not involved in the zone - which embraces 400m people - but they have signed up to agreements on security.

A significant element of the Schengen agreement is the Schengen Information Service (SIS) which features an enormous database in the French city of Strasbourg. The SIS database enables police in any Schengen state to find out whether a suspect has been involved in any kind of crime across the EU.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
- Back to Top -

Important Disclaimer: Please read carefully the Visajourney.com Terms of Service. If you do not agree to the Terms of Service you should not access or view any page (including this page) on VisaJourney.com. Answers and comments provided on Visajourney.com Forums are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Visajourney.com does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. VisaJourney.com does not condone immigration fraud in any way, shape or manner. VisaJourney.com recommends that if any member or user knows directly of someone involved in fraudulent or illegal activity, that they report such activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can contact ICE via email at Immigration.Reply@dhs.gov or you can telephone ICE at 1-866-347-2423. All reported threads/posts containing reference to immigration fraud or illegal activities will be removed from this board. If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by contacting us here with a url link to that content. Thank you.
  • Create New...