No more passport controls as Malta joins the Schengen Area

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Schengen

On the 21st of December 2007, Malta, along with Estonia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia became part of the Schengen area. Today, the enlargement process was completed by lifting air border controls between these countries and with the 15 states that were already part of the Schengen system.

Vice-President of the European Commission, Jacques Barrot said, “The dismantling of air border controls is the final step toward completion of a unique and historical achievement: 24 countries of the EU have no internal borders. The Commission pays tribute to those Member States that have put in place state of the art security systems and special “Schengen terminals” at their airports. The enlargement of the Schengen area demonstrates the EU’s commitment to facilitating legitimate travelling within and into the EU whilst at the same time improving the security of Europe’s external borders.”

After the lifting of land and sea border controls, which took place on the 21st of December 2007 (MEMO/07/619), now border controls at airports are also lifted in Malta, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia and between these countries and the former Schengen members.

This time gap chosen to match the date for lifting air border controls with the bi-yearly changes of flight schedules in airports, therefore allowing for a smoother adjustment in the EU airports concerned.

People will now be allowed to fly from one airport to the other within the enlarged Schengen area without any further formality. This will have a positive effect, reducing queues and easing procedures for EU citizens and others when flying within the Schengen area. Obviously identity checks by airline companies will be maintained at the check-in and when boarding. The standard security controls applied to every flight, regardless of destination, will be maintained.

The lifting of the air border controls within the extended Schengen area follows the decision taken in November 2007 when Justice and Home Affairs Ministers concluded that the Schengen acquis criteria had been met by all candidate countries.

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