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Interior Ministers of Bulgaria, Romania and EU Home Affairs Commissioner Hail Two Countries’ Recent Schengen Accession by Air, Sea

Bulgaria’s caretaker Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov, Romania’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs, Marian-Catalin Predoiu, and EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson Thursday came together in Sofia to hail the recent Schengen accession by air and sea for Bulgaria and Romania. The two ministers also signed a bilateral Protocol amending the Agreement on cross-border police cooperation in criminal matters. Later in the day, Commissioner Johansson visited Sofia Airport to see its new arrangements in connection with Bulgaria’s entry in the border-free area on March 31.
At the joint news briefing, Stoyanov said that Schengen accession “is an extremely important step for the two countries, for which they have been working hard, consistently and together ever since they joined the EU”. 
Marian-Catalin Predoiu said that border checks for air and sea travel were scrapped after a process that took over a decade. “Last year a very important decision was made and we have to continue these steps in 2024,” he added. He called for “finalizing this European project”.
Commissioner Johansson said that while the two countries are celebrating Schengen entry, not all is perfect because Schengen accession by land is yet to be achieved.
She pointed out that a couple of days ago the European Commission adopted a report where it recommends – for the first time – that the Council commits to an exact date for scrapping land borders. She argued that it is something for the Belgian Presidency to ensure and added that the matter will be discussed at a European Council in June.