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PostSubject: Schengen Zone   Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:11 am

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and Bulgaria blocked from joining Schengen zone
Bulgaria says it will try to allay other nations' concerns Continue reading the main story
EU harmonises Schengen visa rules
Balkan states' travel to EU eased
France and Germany have decided to block Bulgaria and Romania from joining the Europe's passport-free travel zone.

The French and German interior ministers said it was "
premature"
to let them join Schengen in March 2011.

They said Bulgaria and Romania needed to make "
irreversible progress"
in the fight against corruption and organised crime.

Romania condemned the decision, while Bulgaria promised to "
do its utmost"
to remove doubts about its membership.

French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux and his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, raised their objections in a letter to European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem, AFP news agency reported.

Experts from EU states who visited Romania and Bulgaria are due to present a report in January that will be used by governments to make a decision on Romanian and Bulgarian membership, but it must be agreed by the Schengen members in unanimity.

"
Grave consequences"


A spokesman for Germany's interior ministry said there had also been a lack of progress by Romania and Bulgaria in reforming their judiciary, Associated Press news agency reported.

The spokesman said those deficits could have "
grave consequences for the European Union's security"
and raised concerns about an "
overly swift"
adhesion to the Schengen area.

Romanian President Traian Basescu said: "
I believe that the Franco-German letter sent to the European Commission is an act of discrimination against Romania."


Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Vessela Tcherneva told AFP: "
We are aware that the political situation in some EU member countries is complicated. For that reason, we will do our utmost to remove any doubts, including in the areas of the judicial system and society as a whole."

The Schengen zone is made up of 25 European countries - the 27 EU members, minus the UK, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus;
plus three non-EU nations - Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:33 am

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Bulgaria's Schengen Entry Delayed at Least till October - Report

The accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Area has practically been delayed indefinitely, and the earliest date the two Balkan countries can hope to join is October, a report of Die Welt says.

The German paper points out a statement of Hungary's Interior Minister Sandor Pinter before a committee of the European Parliament in Brussels made Tuesday saying Bulgaria's failure to institute a sufficiently strict border control will prevent the accession of the two states to Schengen by the original deadline of March 2011.

The Schengen zone expansion must be approved unanimously by the European Council. Hungary, which currently holds the EU presidency, wants to promote an early accession to the Schengen countries, Die Welt says.

It also points out that the Bulgarian government has promised to have met all Schengen requirements by March 2011, and reminds the position of Germany's federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere that Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen accession would be premature at this point, and that it should be bound to their EC-monitored progress in the fight against corruption and organized crime.

Bulgaria and Romania were originally expected to join the Schengen Agreement in March 2011.

However, in the last weeks of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, key EU member states – most notably France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland – have declared their opposition to the Schengen accession of the two Balkan states saying it would be premature as Bulgaria and Romania still face issues with the implementation of the Schengen requirements with respect to controlling what will become their external EU/Schengen borders.

What is more, since December 2010 the Interior Ministers of France and Germany as well as France's EU Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez have voiced additional criticism with respect to Bulgaria and Romania as far as the progress in their judicial reform and rule of law is concerned, and have demanded that the European Commission's post-EU accession monitoring of the two newcomers under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (most notably EC's annual progress reports expected in July) should be taken into account when deciding upon Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen fitness.

The last report of the Brussels working group on the Bulgarian and Romanian Schengen readiness has found problems in both countries – but most of all – with Bulgaria's border control along its Turkish border. This has led the Romanian government to slam Bulgaria numerous times for dragging it down since a decoupling of the two states for Schengen is unlikely as this will mean additional spending to secure their joint border.

In a statement on Tuesday, described as Sofia's first official public reaction to the criticism it faces regarding its Schengen fitness, Bulgarian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vesela Cherneva has declared that Bulgaria is fully capable of executing its obligations as a country having an external EU border.

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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:55 pm

Bulgaria, Romania still have a chance to join Schengen by end-June - Hungarian interior minister

byDnevnik.bg

Bulgaria and Romania still have a chance to join the Schengen area during the Hungarian EU presidency provided that Bulgaria meets all technical requirements by mid-March, Hungary's interior minister Sandor Pinter told Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).

During a presentation of the Hungarian Presidency's priorities in the area of civil liberties, justice and home affairs to the European Parliament on January 25, Pinter did not name a particular date for the admission of Bulgaria and Romania to the passport-free zone, but reiterated his country's support for their Schengen accession on condition they met all the criteria.

According to the experts evaluating Bulgaria's preparedness to join the passport-free area, the state has so far failed to comply with the requirements concerning the control of its border with Turkey, in particular at the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint.

The authorities in Sofia have agreed with the reported irregularities and made commitments to eliminate them by the middle of March. If the country succeeds in fulfilling the requirements by that time, a second inspection of EU experts would follow to determine the bloc's next steps, Pinter said.

He said that Romania already had completed technical preparations and was ready to gain access to the borderless travel zone, but there was no consideration of separate accession for both countries.
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:02 pm

coriolanus wrote:
Bulgaria, Romania still have a chance to join Schengen by end-June - Hungarian interior minister


Bulgaria's Schengen Entry Delayed at Least till October - Report

2 Conflicting reports here which one is right????? answers on a postcard please
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:05 pm

@Carmen wrote:
coriolanus wrote:
Bulgaria, Romania still have a chance to join Schengen by end-June - Hungarian interior minister


Bulgaria's Schengen Entry Delayed at Least till October - Report

2 Conflicting reports here which one is right????? answers on a postcard please

None are right s s This is Bulgaria s s <img src=" title="lol!" /> <img src=" title="lol!" />
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:48 pm

Novinite

Minister: Bulgaria's Airports, Railway Stations Totally Secure

All security measures, required by the Schengen criteria, have been implemented in Bulgatia's airports and railway stations, the country's Transport Minister, Alexander Tsvetkov, has declared.

He announced that before Bulgarian media on Thursday after he met the heads of the Bulgarian civil airports and their security departments, as well as the officials responsible for transport facilities of national importance.

There will be no compromise with the airport security systems in Bulgaria, Alexander Tsvetkov, said, pointing out that several hundred people have been employed to monitor the security at the Sofia airport and that 261 security cameras have been installed at its public access areas.

Some BGN 2 M will be spent on new metal detectors and security radars for the Sofia airport, Tsvetkov announced.

"
The Bulgarian airports are compliant to both EU and Schengen security requirements, as well as the borderline train stations. The train station at Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint will be compliant to the Schengen requirements by February 9,"
according to Tsvetkov.

In addition, security cameras have been installed in all larger Bulgarian railway stations. Bulgaria's ports are also technically ready for the country's Schengen entry, the minister said.

The last report of the Brussels working group on the Bulgarian and Romanian Schengen readiness has found problems in both countries – but most of all – with Bulgaria's border control along its Turkish border, on which the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint is situated.

Last Friday, , Marian Titulescu, the head of the Romanian Foreign Ministry's Schengen Department stated that Bulgaria and Romania may initially enter Europe's border-free zone only with their air borders, pointing out the positive reports the two Balkan states have received on this component.
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:35 pm

Novinite

Schengen Evaluation Group Puts Off Final Decision on Bulgaria

Bulgaria and Romania's hopes to join the Schengen Area in March 2011 will most likely fail to materialize.
The Schengen Area evaluation group (Sch-Eval) has postponed the adoption of two technical reports on Bulgaria, while adopting the report on Romania's Schengen accession.

The reports concerning Bulgaria's Schengen Information System and the Supplementary Information Request at the National Entry (SIS/SIRENE) and land movement were not adopted, Schengen Department chief and Romanian Interior Ministry state secretary Marian Tutilescu told the Romanian news agency Mediafax.

Tutilescu added the two reports on Bulgaria will be discussed again during the next meeting of the Schengen evaluation group.

He is quoted as saying the report evaluating Romania's technical readiness to join Schengen was adopted and stressed that France's representative dropped concerns regarding the implementation of the SIS/SIRENE system in Romania.

Tutilescu said the technical condition stage has ended and the report on Romania will be put to the vote in the European Parliament.

According to the senior Romanian official, the fact that the Schengen working group has not adopted the two reports on Bulgaria might also affect Romania, considering the two countries are supposed to join the Schengen Area together.

Mediafax points out that the evaluation report on Romania's implementation of the SIS/SIRENE system was presented in Brussels on January 14. France's representative asked for more time to study the report, which finally received a positive evaluation. On the other hand, Bulgaria received a negative evaluation concerning land borders.

On January 14, the final report of the EU experts on Bulgaria's preparedness for accession to the Schengen Agreement has concluded that the country has not met the technical criteria to join the borderless European Schengen Agreement. According to the report, Bulgaria still has trouble with the border control on its land border with Turkey.

On Friday Titulescu has reiterated the possibility considered by the Hungarian Presidency of EU for a "
partial"
Bulgarian and Romanian Schengen accession in March 2011.The two EU newcomers may initially enter Europe's border-free zone only with their air borders, a Romanian official stated earlier in January, pointing out the positive reports the two Balkan states have received on this component.

Hungary has already stated it will do everything possible to facilitate Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen entry during its EU presidency.

Bulgaria and Romania were originally expected to join the Schengen Agreement in March 2011.

However, in the last weeks of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, key EU member states – most notably France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland – have declared their opposition to the Schengen accession of the two Balkan states saying it would be premature as Bulgaria and Romania still face issues with the implementation of the Schengen requirements with respect to controlling what will become their external EU/Schengen boders.

What is more, since December 2010 the Interior Ministers of France and Germany as well as France's EU Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez have voiced additional criticism with respect to Bulgaria and Romania as far as the progress in their judicial reform and rule of law is concerned, and have demanded that the European Commission's post-EU accession monitoring of the two newcomers under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (most notably EC's annual progress reports expected in July) should be taken into account when deciding upon Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen fitness.

The last report of the Brussels working group on the Bulgarian and Romanian Schengen readiness has found problems in both countries – but most of all – with Bulgaria's border control along its Turkish border. This has led the Romanian government to slam Bulgaria numerous times for dragging it down since a decoupling of the two states for Schengen is unlikely as this will mean additional spending to secure their joint border.

Once the Schengen Evaluation Group adopts the reports on Bulgaria, they will be referred to the EU institutions, which will make the final decision in February on whether the country can join the borderless Schengen Area in March 2011.

In spite of the assurances issued made by the government in Sofia that Bulgaria will be fully qualified for Schengen accession by March 2011, it is virtually impossible that Bulgaria and Romania will be approved for entry according to the original deadline. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov has recently mentioned he hoped that Bulgaria will make it into Schengen by the end of 2011, which appears to be a more plausible timeline.

In spite of the assurances issued made by the government in Sofia that Bulgaria will be fully qualified for Schengen accession by March 2011, it is virtually impossible that Bulgaria and Romania will be approved for entry according to the original deadline. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov has recently mentioned he hoped that Bulgaria will make it into Schengen by the end of 2011, which appears to be a more plausible timeline.
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:39 pm

Novinite

Schengen Experts to Decide on Bulgarian, Romanian Technical Reports

The Working Party for Schengen Matters (Sch-Eval) is to decide on Friday whether to adopt the technical reports on Bulgaria and Romania.

On January 14, the final report of the EU experts on Bulgaria's preparedness for accession to the Schengen Agreement has concluded that the country has not met the technical criteria to join the borderless European Schengen Agreement. According to the report, Bulgaria still has trouble with the border control on its land border with Turkey.

As for Romania, its report has been blocked from adoption for the time being, since the French representative in Sch-Eval asked for more time to study it.

Meanwhile, a Romanian official stated that the Hungarian Presidency of EU considers a partial Bulgarian and Romanian Schengen accession in March 2011.The two EU newcomers may initially enter Europe's border-free zone only with their air borders, a Romanian official has stated, pointing out the positive reports the two Balkan states have received on this component.

Hungary has already stated it will do everything possible to facilitate Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen entry during its EU presidency.

However, France, Germany and Finland are against the Bulgarian and Romanian Schengen entry based on concerns that relate not to the legally mandated criteria, but rather to issues with corruption and crime that are dealt with by the so-called Co-operation and Verification Mechanism set up for the two EU newcomers
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:26 pm

[size=55:2eeem209]Sofia echo

Schengen space

Bulgaria is insisting that it will by March fulfil all criteria for membership of the Schengen visa zone, but some media reports claim that its accession, along with that of Romania, will be postponed indefinitely.

France and Germany have underlined their opposition to Bulgaria and Romania joining Schengen, with French minister for European affairs Laurent Wauquiez saying that should the visa zone’s database fall into the hands of organised crime, Europe’s internal security would suffer.

German interior minister Thomas de Maizière said that while Bulgaria and Romania had made tremendous efforts to meet the technical requirements for Schengen membership, there were many shortcomings in both countries’ efforts to reform their judicial systems and to fight organised crime. Under current circumstances, the two countries’ accession would be "
premature"
.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry responded on January 25 with a series of arguments why the country believed that it could meet its obligations as an EU external border.

An EU experts’ inspection had found that Bulgaria’s use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) was in line with the best practices of the bloc, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vessela Tcherneva said.

In July 2010, the European Commission and EU member states, France included, had found that in Bulgaria there was strong impetus for reform and active measures against organised crime and corruption had been taken. This made it impossible to suggest that SIS data would fall into the hands of organised crime, Tcherneva said.

Sándor Pintér, interior minister of Hungary – the country currently holding the rotating presidency of the EU – said that his country supported Bulgaria and Romania joining Schengen but reports showed that Bulgaria was not ready in securing its land border with Turkey.

Tcherneva said that Bulgaria’s control of its border with Turkey "
corresponds to a significant degree to the best practices of Schengen and in many areas exceeds established Schengen standards"
.

Bulgaria had four new helicopters for border surveillance, had set up an integrated system for surveillance of maritime borders and ranked second among the countries of South Eastern Europe in confiscations of heroin.

The country was confident of being able to follow Schengen procedures for issuing visas at its diplomatic representations abroad, Tcherneva said.

Responding to some media reports about Bulgaria granting citizenship to third-country nationals (a topic of no immediate relevance to the technical criteria for Schengen), she said that the statistics for the past decade were negligible compared to those in many other EU countries.

"
We hope that our efforts will be judged on merit by our partners,"
Tcherneva said.

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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:17 pm

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Hungary Reiterates June Schengen Entry of Bulgaria, Romania

Hungary, which is currently holding the rotating EU presidency, reiterated its commitment to Schengen accession of Romania and Bulgaria by the end of its term in June.

According to Czech newspaper Pravo, Hungarian Minister of Interior Sandor Pinter said he was hopeful that both countries will meet the technical requirements for Schengen in time for a June entry.

The Hungarian EU Presidency has been quite supportive of the accession to the free movement zone of neighboring Romania and Bulgaria, which was initially planned for March.

Nevertheless, since at least December, major EU members France and Germany have voiced acrimonious opposition to Schengen accession of the two countries at this point, raising concerns regarding corruption and the functioning of the judiciary and law enforcement organs.
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:19 pm

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Bulgaria Schengen Report Put Off Because of Technical Matters

The non-adoption of two technical reports on Bulgaria is due to purely technical issues, according to Bulgarian Deputy-Minister of Interior Veselin Vuchkov.

According to Vuchkov, who spoke on the Bulgarian National Radio, this is a completely regular procedure that is no cause for worry.

Vuchkov said that EU member Slovenia, who had not sent monitors to Bulgaria, has requested additional information regarding the functions of Bulgaria's military police. The questions will be duly answered, said the vice-minister.

Friday it became clear that the two reports on Bulgaria were not adopted, while at the same time the reports for neighbor and fellow Schengen applicant Romania passed through the approval of the Schengen Area evaluation group (Sch-Eval).

It is thought that the fact that the Schengen working group has not adopted the two reports on Bulgaria might also affect Romania, considering the two countries are supposed to join the Schengen Area together.

On January 14, the final report of the EU experts on Bulgaria's preparedness for accession to the Schengen Agreement has concluded that the country has not met the technical criteria to join the borderless European Schengen Agreement. According to the report, Bulgaria still has trouble with the border control on its land border with Turkey.

However, in the last weeks of 2010 and the beginning of 2011, key EU member states - most notably France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland - have declared their opposition to the Schengen accession of the two Balkan states saying it would be premature as Bulgaria and Romania still face issues with the implementation of the Schengen requirements with respect to controlling what will become their external EU/Schengen boders.

What is more, since December 2010 the Interior Ministers of France and Germany as well as France's EU Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez have voiced additional criticism with respect to Bulgaria and Romania as far as the progress in their judicial reform and rule of law is concerned, and have demanded that the European Commission's post-EU accession monitoring of the two newcomers under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (most notably EC's annual progress reports expected in July) should be taken into account when deciding upon Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen fitness.

In spite of the assurances issued made by the government in Sofia that Bulgaria will be fully qualified for Schengen accession by March 2011, it is virtually impossible that Bulgaria and Romania will be approved for entry according to the original deadline. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov has recently mentioned he hoped that Bulgaria will make it into Schengen by the end of 2011, which appears to be a more plausible timeline.
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:55 pm

novanite.com

Have not got a clue what this is all about but we appear to have tread on it so here is latest update.

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Politics » Bulgaria in EU
Interior Head: Bulgaria Now Totally Schengen-Ready
Bulgaria in EU | March 15, 2011, Tuesday

Bulgaria has now covered the last remaining technical requirement for its Schengen entry – the opening of the Lyubimets refugee camp, the country's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov declared Tuesday.

Tsvetanov, who officially opened the refugee camp near the border with Tukey, announced an expert committee from the European Commission is to visit and inspect Bulgaria's preparedness to join the Schengen Agreement. Afterwards, the EU Interior Ministers will gather and take the political decision on the issue, he added.

A total of EUR 160 M has been absorbed by the Bulgaria in relation to its Schengen bid, 80% of which under the current government, Tsvetanov pointed out upon opening Lyubimets, which will have the capacity to temporarily accommodate 340 asylum seekers at once.

Bulgaria was originally supposed to join Schengen together with Romania in March 2011. However, its failure to meet some border control criteria, and the political opposition of France and Germany – backed to date by Sweden and Austria, among others – has left the hopes of the two Balkan states to make it into Schengen up in the air. Bulgaria and Romania now hope to be able to join the borderless zone before the end of 2011.

In February, Sandor Pinter, Hungarian Minister of Interior, observing Bulgaria's Schengen fitness as Hungary holds the rotating EU Presidency, announced that EU experts will examine again Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen preparedness in late April or early May.

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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:11 pm

I noticed on my last visit to BG that the sign for the Schengen Zone is now situated above the passport/border control points at Varna Airport
They are having a laugh arn't they
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:09 pm

Looks like its system go s


Novinite

Bulgaria Now Completely Schengen Ready - Report

Bulgaria has now covered all Schengen assessment criteria, the Bulgarian National Radio reported Monday, stating that is what the Working Party for Schengen Matters' latest report says.

According to the previous report of the Working Party for Schengen Matters, Bulgaria had covered the Schengen Accession criteria as far as the implementation of the Information System and the Supplementary Information Request at the National Entry ( SIS/SIRENE) is concerned, but it had to put additional efforts into dealing with its Turkish border. Bulgaria's neighbour, Romania, had covered all necessary criteria and was ready to join the border free zone in March, the report said, but had to wait for their fellow EU newcomer to catch up.

On Monday, the report will be discussed for the first time by the Schengen Working Party. It is expected to be accepted either later in April or in May.

Bulgaria was originally supposed to join Schengen together with Romania in March 2011. However, its failure to meet some border control criteria, and the political opposition of France and Germany – backed to date by Sweden and Austria, among others – has left the hopes of the two Balkan states to make it into Schengen up in the air, leaving the Balkan states with the hope to be able to join the Agreement before the end of 2011.

In February, Sandor Pinter, Hungarian Minister of Interior, observing Bulgaria's Schengen fitness as Hungary holds the rotating EU Presidency, announced that EU experts will examine again Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen preparedness in late April or early May.

According to the previous report of the Working Party for Schengen Matters, Bulgaria has covered the Schengen Accession criteria as far as the implementation of the Information System and the Supplementary Information Request at the National Entry ( SIS/SIRENE) is concerned, but it has to put additional efforts into dealing with its Turkish border.
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:34 pm

:Howdy:OK, let's assume that every thing is now hunky dorey and Bulgaria have been granted their wish. What will it mean, What will happen, what will change, how will we know and how will we witness the changes, if any

I will try to explain what I mean. So our expensive Wizzair flight arrives at Varna Airport, we are transfered to the terminal in a bus, on arriving at the border control point prior to baggage collect, we push and shove to try to get through passport control as quickly as possible. The Officers scrutinise our passports upside down, inside out, hold them up to the light and eventually put them through a scanner, from that, and witnessing their smiling faces we gather that we are being welcomed into their Country
I ask, is all this going to stop, are they going to do away with their booths and we will get off the bus and go straight to baggage collect, just like the airports in Spain. I somehow don't think so, but what do members of the forum think
On my last visit in February they had already errected the Schengen Zone signs on the booths, so was that in anticipation I wonder, or just wishful thinking T
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PostSubject: Re: Schengen Zone   Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:12 pm

Good point and I will be very surprised if that happens! What about illegal immigration?
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