Thursday

18th Jan 2018

EU borderless zone to be extended to airports

At midnight on Sunday (30 March) the enlargement of the EU's borderless zone to eight Eastern European countries and Malta will be completed through the lifting of air border controls between them and the 15 countries already part of the area.

The enlargement of the so-called Schengen area started on 21 December when land and sea border checks between Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and the other Schengen countries were abolished.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The enlargement of the Schengen zone to 24 member states is now complete," EU transport commissioner Jacques Barrot stated on Friday (28 March) referring to the inclusion of airports.

"I would like to underline the symbolic and concrete importance of this change," he said.

"The free movement of persons represents one of the fundamental [EU] principles. [It is] concrete, as the life of the citizens moving within the Schengen zone will be very simplified," he added.

While air companies will continue to perform identity checks at check-in and boarding, people will from Sunday onwards be allowed to fly from one airport to another within the Schengen area without being subjected to other formalities.

In addition, "it will be the end of a certain number of long queues and procedures for EU citizens, as well as for third country nationals travelling within Schengen by air", said Mr Barrot.

In order to celebrate the lifting of air borders, several member states have planned media events at their main airports.

At the airport of Ljubljana, the capital of current EU president country Slovenia, EU commissioner Janez Potocnik, himself from Slovenia, will represent the European Commission at a ceremony celebrating the border opening.

The Schengen area was established in 1985 and named after the small Luxembourg village where it was signed by Germany, the Benelux countries and France.

It now comprises 22 EU member states, as well as Norway and Iceland.

Non-EU member Switzerland is also to become a member of the Schengen area later this year, while EU members Ireland and the UK do not participate in the zone.

Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania still have to meet the necessary requirements. It is not yet known when they will join Schengen, but Cyprus is expected to do so around 2009, while Bulgaria and Romania are hoping to follow suit by 2011.

LuxLeaks whistleblower Deltour acquitted

The court confirmed a sentence of €1,000 fine for Deltour's fellow leaker Raphael Halet, raising pressure on the European Commission to come forward with proposals to protect whistleblowers.

MEPs target exports of cyber surveillance tech

MEPs have introduced a human rights clause into the export of cyber surveillance technology as part of EU-wide reforms to prevent abuse by autocratic regimes. The Strasbourg plenary will vote on the bill on Wednesday.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan parliament elects separatist speaker
  2. Czech government resigns
  3. MEPs back tighter export rules on cyber tech
  4. Annual eurozone inflation at 1.4 percent in December
  5. EPP group calls for 'European Netflix'
  6. Ex-MEP Goulard slated for senior French bank post
  7. Luxembourg speaks out in support of Palestinian state
  8. Danish fishing communities to be hit hard by Brexit, says report

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other Border Regions on How Countries Can Work Together to Generate Growth
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  4. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  5. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  7. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  8. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  9. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  10. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted
  11. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  12. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda