Nine more European countries open borders 2007-11-08 04:37:20   Print

    BRUSSELS, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- The European Union announced on Wednesday it plans to extend the abolition of borders to nine new members, including Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

    As from December 2007, the EU will abolish checks at internal land and sea borders (and air borders by March 2008) to the nine countries, a press release from the EU Council said.

    In 1985, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, France and signed the Schengen Agreement in the village of Schengen in Luxemburg to open borders to each other.

    With the nine new members, Schengen area will cover an area of 22 EU members. Two non-EU members, Norway and Iceland, joined the Schengen in 1996.

    Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Switzerland are expected to become full members in the Schengen in the years to come.

    Under the Schengen Agreement, any foreign visitor can travel to all the countries on a single visa.

    "The great advantage of Schengen is to make it easier for people to move around by abolishing internal border checks. They can travel freely in the Schengen area, which makes for economic, regional and cultural dynamism within Europe and especially the border areas," the council said.

Editor: Yan Liang
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