Enlargement of the Schengen area: achieving the European goal of free movement of persons (21/12/2007)
Today Estonia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia will become part of the Schengen area. Controls at internal land and sea borders between these countries and the current 15 member states will be lifted. This will result in a very tangible expression of the free movement ideal. As Commission President José Manuel Barroso put it: "As from today people can travel hassle-free between 24 countries of the Schengen area without internal land and sea border controls- from Portugal to Poland and from Greece to Finland. I wish to congratulate the nine new Schengen members, the Portuguese presidency and all EU Member States for their efforts. Together we have overcome border controls as man-made obstacles to peace, freedom and unity in Europe, while creating the conditions for increased security". For more background on the Schengen Agreement click here.