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Borders Open as Slovenia Joins Schengen Area

Nova Gorica/Ċ entilj/Kobarid, 21 December - Gates at Slovenia's border crossings with Italy, Austria and Hungary were lifted a minute past midnight on Friday and border checks were eliminated as the country joined the Schengen border-free area along with eight other newcomers to the bloc.

Rozna Dolina/Casa rossa border crossing
Nova Gorica Mayor Mirko Brulc (left) and Gorizia Mayor Ettore Romoli (right) at the celebration of Slovenia's accession to the Schengen zone
Photo: Jurij Paljk/STA

Robic/Stupizza border crossing
Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel (left) and Premier of the Italian Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia Riccardo Illy at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Marko Cencic/STA

Rozna dolin/Casa rossa border crossing
Lifting the gates at the border crossing with Italy.
Photo: Jurij Paljk/STA

Rozna dolin/Casa rossa border crossing
Lifting the gates at the border crossing with Italy.
Photo: Jurij Paljk/STA

Rozna dolina/Casa rosa border crossing
Singer Pero Lovsin performing at the celebration to mark Slovenia's accession to the Schengen zone.
Photo: Jurij Paljk/STA

Rozna dolina/Casa rossa border crossing
A few thousand people came to the celebration to mark the Schengen expansion.
hoto: Jurij Paljk/STA

Rozna dolina/Casa rossa border crossing
A few thousand people came to the celebration to mark the Schengen expansion.
hoto: Jurij Paljk/STA

Rozna Dolina/Casa rossa border crossing
Nova Gorica Mayor Mirko Brulc (left) and Gorizia Mayor Ettore Romoli (right) at the celebration of Slovenia's accession to the Schengen zone.
Photo: Jurij Paljk/STA

Robic/Stupizza border crossing
Mayor of Kobarid Robert Kavcic (right) and Premier of the Italian Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia Riccardo Illy (left) at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Marko Cencic/STA

Robic/Stupizza border crossing
Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel (left) and Premier of the Italian Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia Riccardo Illy at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Marko Cencic/STA

Robic/Stupizza border crossing
People celebrating Schengen expansion.
Photo: Kaja Kraljevic/STA

Robic/Stupizza border crossing
People celebrating Schengen expansion.
Photo: Kaja Kraljevic/STA

Robic/Stupizza border crossing
Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel (right) and Mayor of Podbonesca Piergiorgio Domenis at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Marko Cencic/STA

Robic/Stupizza border crossing
Mayor of Podbonesca Piergiorgio Domenis (right) sawing the border gate at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Marko Cencic/STA

Robic/Stupizza border crossing
From left to right: Mayor of Kobarid Robert Kavcic, Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, Mayor of Podbonesca Piergiorgio Domenis, and Premier of the Italian Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia Riccardo Illy at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Marko Cencic/STA

Robic/Stupizza border crossing
Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel (right) and Premier of the Italian Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia Riccardo Illy at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Marko Cencic/STA

Fernetici/Fernetti border crossing
Slovenian police officers at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Kaja Kraljevic/STA

Fernetici/Fernetti
Director of the Koper Police Administration Iztok Jakomin (right) at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Kaja Kraljevic/STA

Fernetici/Fernetti
Officials toasting Schengen expansion; (left to right) Italian Interior Ministry Undersecretary Ettore Rosato, Mayor of Sezana Davorin Tercon and Mayor of Trieste Roberto Dipiazza.
Photo: Kaja Kraljevic/STA

Fernetici/Fernetti border crossing
People celebrating Schengen expansion.
Photo: Kaja Kraljevic/STA

Fernetici/Fernetti border crossing
Lipizzaner horses at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Kaja Kraljevic/STA

Fernetici/Fernetti border crossing
Lipizzaner horses at a ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Kaja Kraljevic/STA

Fernetici/Fernetti border crossing
People celebrating Schengen expansion.
Photo: Kaja Kraljevic/STA

Fernetici/Fernetti border crossing
A ceremony marking Schengen expansion.
Photo: Kaja Kraljevic/STA

Karavanke/Karawanken border crossing
A ceremony marking Slovenia's accession to the Schengen border-free area.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Karavanke/Karawanken border crossing
A ceremony marking Slovenia's accession to the Schengen border-free area.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Karavanke/Karawanken border crossing
MEP Mihael Brejc addressing a ceremony marking Slovenia's accession to the Schengen border-free area.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Karavanke/Karawanken border crossing
A ceremony marking Slovenia's accession to the Schengen border-free area.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Karavanke/Karawanken border crossing
A ceremony marking Slovenia's accession to the Schengen border-free area.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Karavanke/Karawanken border crossing.
Austrian border police at a ceremony marking Slovenia's accession to the Schengen border-free area.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Jesenice, Karavanke/Karawanken border crossing.
A ceremony marking Slovenia's accession to the Schengen border-free area.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Sentilj border crossing
A ceremony marking Schengen expansion at Slovenia's biggest border crossing with Austria.
Photo: Domen Groegl/STA

Sentilj border crossing
Head of the Police Force Joze Romsek, Interior Minister Dragutin Mate and Austrian Economy and Labour Minister Martin Bartenstein lift the gates at Slovenia's biggest border crossing with Austria to mark Schengen expansion.
Photo: Domen Groegl/STA

Sentilj border crossing
Head of the Police Force Joze Romsek, Interior Minister Dragutin Mate and Austrian Economy and Labour Minister Martin Bartenstein lift the gates at Slovenia's biggest border crossing with Austria to mark Schengen expansion.
Photo: Domen Groegl/STA

Sentilj border crossing
Officials take part in a ceremony to mark Schengen expansion at Slovenia's biggest crossing with Austria: (left to right) Mayor of Maribor Franc Kangler, Austrian Economy and Labour Minister Martin Bartenstein and Slovenian Interior Minister Dragutin Mate.
Photo: Domen Groegl/STA

Sentilj border crossing
Head of the Slovenian Police Force Joze Romsek (right) talking to an Austrian police official at a Schengen expansion ceremony at Slovenia's biggest border crossing with Austria.
Photo: Domen Groegl/STA

Sentilj border crossing
Austrian Economy and Labour Minister Martin Bartenstein (right) talking to Slovenian Interior Minister Dragutin Mate and head of the Police Force Joze Romsek on the sidelines of a ceremony upon Schengen expansion.
Photo: Domen Groegl/STA

Sentilj border crossing
Interior Minister Dragutin Mate (centre) talking to Austrian Economy and Labour Minister Martin Bartenstein on the sidelines of a ceremony upon Schengen expansion.
Photo: Domen Groegl/STA

Sentilj border crossing
Interior Minister Dragutin Mate (centre) and head of the Police Force Joze Romsek talking to Austrian Economy and Labour Minister Martin Bartenstein on the sidelines of a ceremony upon Schengen expansion.
Photo: Domen Groegl/STA

Sentilj border crossing
Interior Minister Dragutin Mate shortly before borders open with Schengen expansion at Slovenia's biggest border crossing with Austria.
Photo: Domen Groegl/STA

Sentilj border crossing
Interior Minister Dragutin Mate (second from left) and head of the Police Force Joze Romsek are on hand for a Schengen expansion ceremony at Slovenia's biggest border crossing with Austria.
Photo: Domen Groegl/STA

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