The cost of non-Schengen for the Single market – impact on Bulgaria and Romania


The Schengen Agreement remains a cornerstone of the Single Market. It is essential for the free movement of people and goods within the EU, and it is a key factor in the EU's economic success. Since 2011, the Commission has consistently held the opinion that Bulgaria and Romania are ready to become part of the Schengen area without internal border controls and has actively urged the Council to take the Decisions to allow them to join the area without internal controls; the same pledge has been made by the European Parliament on multiple occasions. In 2023 the Council decided to lift air and maritime internal border controls with Bulgaria and Romania, as of March 2024. However, checks at internal land borders are maintained, without establishing a date for their removal. Bulgaria and Romania experience economic losses due to increased transport costs and delays, as well as reduced trade and tourism; their economic integration with the rest of the EU is also hindered by the lack of Schengen area membership.

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