Romania is celebrating a “symbolic” entry into the Schengen area that will not yet benefit its economy

After 17 years as a member of the European Union and 13 negotiationRomania, one of the poorest countries in the group, will join the Schengen area of ​​freedom of movement this Sunday, but only by air and sea, which still severely limits the positive impact on its economy.

This partial entry primarily benefits travelers from the Schengen area who have since arrived at one of Romania’s 18 airports You do not have to show your documents at the police checkpointHowever, there will be random checks and the police may require documents from travelers with children.

In 2023, almost 25 million passengers at Romanian airports17% more than last year.

Opposition from Austria, which questions whether both Bulgaria and Romania properly control the entry of migrants through their borders, has led to access to Schengen being sidelined for now. passenger and freight transport by road and rail.

It is assumed that the liberalization of overland transport will achieve the real impact, especially on the economy 39.3% of Romanian goods transport occurs by road and 20% by rail, according to Eurostat data from 2021. Sea and river transport accounts for 39.3% and air transport only 1.4%.

Romania has major trading partners within the EU such as Germany with imports worth 23.6 billion euros and exports of almost 20 billion euros. Or Italy, where the trade balance is about 20 billion.

The Romanian government estimates economic losses due to long waiting times for transport companies at border controls at 0.5% of the national GDP.

For example, any model Dacia Dustera Romanian brand from the Renault Group, costs Romanians around 100 euros more, according to estimates by the Minister of Economy himself, simply because some of the parts come from Bulgaria. Stefan-Radu Oprea.

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“As it is not a full accession, the decision has a more symbolic value, as Romanians felt discriminated against by the postponement of Schengen accession,” the Romanian analyst explains to EFE. Radu G. MagdinCEO of Smartlink Communications, a think tank in Bucharest.

In fact, Magdin doubts that this measure will lead to a significant increase in tourist numbers. In 2023 Germans (218,000) and Italians (186,000) They were the two main groups among the 2.6 million foreign tourists who arrived in the country. According to Eurostat, Romania receives only 1.2% of tourists from the European Union. According to official data, 76% of foreigners travel to Romania by road.

Although both Romania and Bulgaria have been members of the European Union since 2007, their access to the Schengen free movement area has been delayed since 2011, when the European Commission confirmed that the two countries met the accession criteria.

Negotiations on land access to Schengen for Bulgaria and Romania will continue in 2024, in a complicated year with both European and Austrian elections taking place.

The Romanian government recently agreed to adapt to the requirements of Schengen new requirements for companies that employ non-EU foreigners You must sign the contract within the first fifteen days of your arrival in the country and the employment relationship must last at least one year.

The Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjartoassured two weeks ago that his country, which will hold the rotating EU presidency in the second half of the year, would try to promote Romania’s full integration into the Schengen area.

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