Slovakia celebrates Schengen membership 2007-12-21 10:48:51   Print

   PRAGUE, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Slovakia entered the Schengen zone on Friday, which enables its citizens to travel freely to most neighbouring countries and elsewhere in Europe without border checks, the Czech news agency CTK reported.

    Slovaks can now freely cross the borders with Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, which are more than 1,500 km long together.

    On the other hand, border checks have been tightened and patrols reinforced along the 100-km-long Slovak-Ukrainian border.

    Already on Thursday, celebrations were held in many places along the Slovak borders.

    The Bratislava Petrzalka-Berg crossing was ceremonially "opened" by Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak and Roger Weber, mayor of Schengen, a Luxembourg town, where the Schengen treaty signed in 1985.

    Earlier on Thursday, a symbolic bar at the same crossing was removed by Slovak PM Robert Fico and Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer.

    At the same day, Hundreds of Slovaks and Czechs met at the Czech-Slovak border crossing in Stary Hrozenkov to attend the solemn "removal of borders."

    The ceremony included a toast and a firework, and "Schengen goulash" was served.

    All nine new EU members, including Slovakia, were introduced the Schengen system at their land borders on Dec. 21 and international airports by the end of next March.

Editor: Du Guodong
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