Border checks were lifted at the airports of the nine countries that joined Europe’s border-free Schengen area last year. Controls on land and sea frontiers were lifted last year and those at airports have now been lifted as security upgrades have been completed.
Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta and Slovenia joined Europe’s Schengen area in December 2007 and as of March 30 some 400 million people can fly between one of the nine countries and any other Schengen member state without showing passports to border guards on departure and arrival. Identity checks and standard security controls including restrictions on carrying liquids in hand luggage are to be maintained.
Switzerland, Cyprus and Liechtenstein are expected to join Schengen later this year while new European Union members Bulgaria and Romania hope to do so by 2011.