EU extends border-free zone

Nine states welcomed into 'Schengen' area to travel passport-free within the EU.

    EU interior ministers, including Slovenia's Dragutin Mate, second from left, agreed the deal [EPA]

    Schengen countries apply common external border controls, a common visa policy and share a police database on criminals and lost cars.

    Checks will continue at airports for intra-Schengen flights until the end of March 2008.

    Thirteen EU countries, plus Norway and Iceland, are currently part of the Schengen area whose members dismantle internal border posts.

    Britain and Ireland have chosen not to join.

    EU members

    The nine countries that will join "Schengen-land" in December all became members of the now 27-nation EU in 2004.

    Cyprus, which joined at the same time, has asked for one year's delay.

    Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU only this year, need to do more work to meet security criteria, officials have said.

    "It's not only for travelling," Mate said. "I strongly believe ... in local areas the economy will start growing better and better, and usually the areas around borders are not well developed.

    "They will now have a new push."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.