EC Supports Austria’s Proposal for ‘Air Schengen’ Access for Romania & Bulgaria

The European Commission is supporting Austria’s “Air Schengen” proposal that would permit Romanian and Bulgarian citizens to travel to Schengen countries by air without passport control.

The talks to implement the proposal are underway, reported.

Austria, which has continuously opposed the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen Zone, has recently introduced the following four conditions that would help the inclusion of these two states, but only for air travel:

• A threefold increase in Frontex mission staff in Sofia, with financial backing for border protection infrastructure provided by the Commission and technical modernisation of the Bulgarian-Turkish and Romanian-Serbian borders.

• Enhanced border surveillance measures at the borders between Romania and Bulgaria as well as those between Hungary and Romania.

• Deployment of Austrian advisers on document-related issues in order to collaborate with airport teams in both Romania and Bulgaria.

• Reception of asylum seekers, particularly those from Afghanistan and Syria, in Romania and Bulgaria.

The Schengen zone includes the 27 countries that have signed the Schengen agreement, which allows citizens of member countries to travel within the zone freely without passing through passport and border control.

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