Schengen zone celebrated at tri-country border

Celebrations of the Schengen zone entry of nine EU countries culminated on December 22 at the border crossings of three countries - Slovakia, Hungary and Austria.

Celebrations of the Schengen zone entry of nine EU countries culminated on December 22 at the border crossings of three countries - Slovakia, Hungary and Austria.

At the border crossing Hegyeshalom - Nickelsdorf, around 30 kilometres from Bratislava, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány and Austrian Interior Minister Günther Platter celebrated with the President of the European Commission José Barroso and Portuguese Prime Minister José Socrates the expansion of the passport-free zone.

All the politicians hailed it as momentous for all European countries and a celebration of freedom and democracy. Gyurcsány thanked everyone who believed in such a courageous dream. His Slovak counterpart was thankful for this "wonderful Christmas present for all inhabitants of Europe".

Barroso said that the entry into the Schengen zone is symbolic, but has far-reaching effects. The removal of borders is a matter of trust, and now we can trust each other in the unified Europe, he said. He is looking forward to a new Europe, united in peace, freedom and democracy.

Border controls were abolished at midnight from December 21 to 22 as the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, as well as the Mediterranean island of Malta, joined the 15 nations already in the Schengen zone. The huge expansion means that the population of the free-movement zone has reached 400 million.

Compiled by Jana Liptaková from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

No balanced budget for next three years, this time due to COVID-19

2021-2023 general government budgets lack consolidation measures.

Finance Minister Eduard Heger

Pity the nation

Americans’ choice of president on November 3 will affect Slovaks too.

The second US presidential debate.

Extension of the tram line deeper into Bratislava’s Petržalka is closer to completion

After completion, passengers will be able to go from the very end of Petržalka to the city centre in 10 minutes.

The current tram terminal station on Jungmannova Street in Petržalka.

Pilot nationwide testing is over

The prime minister and the defence minister consider the pilot testing successful.

Zázrivá, the Dolný Kubín district