European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in Slovakia that the enlargement of the Schengen area would not impair security in Europe, but will benefit local people, the Czech news agency CTK reported Friday.
At a joint press conference with Slovakia and Portuguese prime ministers, Barroso said that Schengen countries will collectively beef up their security and deepen cooperation in the fight against crimes.
Interiorly, the lifting of border checks would contribute to an easier movement of goods and inflow of new investment, and also increase the competitiveness between peer countries. As a result, the ordinary people would benefit most from the enlargement, he said.
Nine European Union (EU) countries -- Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic -- officially joined the passport-free Schengen Area at 0:00 a.m. Friday local time, in the biggest-ever enlargement of the Schengen zone, expanding it from 15 to 24 countries.
(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2007)