BERN – In a significant development, Switzerland has announced its decision to eliminate passport verifications at its airports for individuals traveling to and from Bulgaria and Romania.
The Federal Council of Switzerland announced the announcement effective from March 31st this year in what could provide major relief to the travelers and business people.
The decision to eliminate passport verifications at airports comes in the wake of the European Union’s (EU) unanimous agreement to lift air and sea border controls with Bulgaria and Romania.
The EU Council’s unanimous decision in December last year marked the end of checks on people at internal air and sea borders with Bulgaria and Romania, with a specific implementation date in the near future.
While controls will persist at land borders, the council has hinted at the possibility of revisiting this matter for a future decision.
Switzerland, a member of the Schengen Zone, has chosen to align itself with the EU’s stance, confirming its commitment to a passport-free travel experience within the zone.
Notably, Switzerland emphasized that the recent experience of Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area in January last year demonstrated that such decisions do not necessarily result in a significant increase in immigration.
Furthermore, in a statement released on Wednesday, the Swiss government highlighted an additional measure. In line with the EU’s decision, both Bulgaria and Romania will have the authority to issue their own Schengen visas, a move that is expected to streamline travel processes and enhance the autonomy of these nations in managing their Schengen affairs.
As Switzerland and its European counterparts navigate the evolving landscape of border controls, this decision marks a significant step toward facilitating smoother and more efficient travel between these nations, contributing to the broader objectives of the Schengen Zone.
The council’s indication of a potential future decision on land border controls adds an element of anticipation to the ongoing discussions surrounding European travel policies.