Bulgaria, Romania & Greece Push for Open Land Borders to Ease Tourist Traffic in Summer

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Unanimous approval for Bulgaria and Romania’s land border accession to Schengen may not be needed, at least not for travel to Greece and vice versa.

This comes after these three Balkan countries are discussing plans to open land borders by summer in order to ease heavy tourist traffic between them, in spite of Austria’s veto concerning land border accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the borderless area of EU, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Romanian MEPs Dacian Ciolos together with Vlad Gheorghe, as well as Greek MEP Georgios Kyrtsos and Bulgarian MP Daniel Lorer have addressed a letter to Greece’s Minister of Migration and Asylum, Dimitris Kairidis, calling him to abolish land border controls between Sofia, Bucharest and Athens.

Romanian Member of the European Parliament, Dacian Ciolos, said that until now, “we have a clear timetable for land border accession to the Schengen area,” stressing that “it is our duty to keep the issue on the European agenda.”

The fact that Romania has accepted all of Austria’s conditions for the partial implementation of a right we have been entitled to for 13 years makes this even more difficult. If we don’t act, new wayward EU governments will keep us from entering [Schengen] for another 13 years.

Colossal

According to the Bulgarian News Agency, in the letter quoted by Digi24, the four politicians mentioned the reasons why their request is relevant.

They say the European Commission has continuously emphasised that Bulgaria and Romania have met all the necessary conditions for accession to the Schengen Zone.

In the letter, they also note that the European Parliament issued several resolutions and reports calling for full Schengen membership, which were supported by an absolute majority.

The letter also notes that the representatives of the Greek tourism and hospitality sector want the land border controls to be lifted so that Romanian and Bulgarian tourists travelling to Greece become easier.

This would become a very important factor for economic development, especially in the northern parts of Greece, provided that the land border is fully opened before the summer period.

the letter notes

The four Members of the European Parliament argued that land border controls between these three Balkan countries “are still causing huge losses to transport companies and tourists in terms of travel costs, loss of profits and time.”

Following Austria’s “Air Schengen” proposal, Romania and Bulgaria will become part of the Schengen zone by air and sea starting in March this year. However, Vienna, which blocked the accession of these two countries to Schengen in December 2022, continues to maintain its veto when it comes to land border issues, considering it inappropriate at this stage.

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