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HomeBalkansAustria to Introduce €160 Fee at Schattendorf Border Crossing With Hungary

Austria to Introduce €160 Fee at Schattendorf Border Crossing With Hungary

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The Austrian authorities are planning on introducing a €160 fee, €140 of which reimbursable, at the border crossing between Austrian town of Schattendorf (Somfalva) and the Hungarian village of Ágfalva (Agendorf).

The plan has been revealed last Tuesday during a joint press conference in the Schattendorf municipal office between the mayor of Schattendorf, Thomas Hoffmann (SPÖ), the mayor of Ágfalva, Zsuzsanna Pék, and lawyer Johannes Zink, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Due to construction works for a pedestrian zone there, which have cost the Austrian municipality around €110,000, the border crossing has been closed since March 1, causing difficulties for thousands of Hungarian commuters forced to take a detour every day.

The border crossing, closed since March, will be reopened starting July 3. However, a permit is required to pass through,” Schattendorf’s major said during the press conference last week revealing that the municipality wants all those who wish to cross this border to apply at least two weeks in advance and pay a fee of €160.

He also explained that €140 from this amount will be reimbursed in the form of vouchers that can be redeemed in Schattendorf.

The mayor of Hungarian village of Ágfalva, Zsuzsanna Pék, was unhappy with the announcement, insisting that a better solution would be to build more roads in the area, where traffic and border crossings are increasing, instead of imposing such fees.

During the press conference, both mayors have been confronted by around 30 demonstrators, commuters, and pensioners from the Hungarian side, as well as sympathizers from the Austrian side, holding banners, and calling the plan a move against “the rights of EU citizens and the rules of the Schengen area.”

The municipality of Schattendorf has already announced open applications for crossing permits, further breaking down the fee.

A federal fee of €14.30 (+ €3.90 per enclosure) will be charged for the application. The costs for issuing the notification amount to €38.90 (single exception) or €145.90 (multiple approval). These administrative charges will be refunded with Schattendorf shopping vouchers worth €140.00,” the municipoality notes in a statement.

It further explains that the vouchers can be used in all Schattendorf shops including Billa, Warmbad, hairdresser, etc

Both Austria and Hungary are members of the Schengen Zone, the laws of which determine that the border controls between the Member States should be removed, so that there are no physical obstacles for the freedom of movement throughout this territory.

According to the Schengen Borders Code, internal border controls can mainly be reintroduced only in cases when there’s a threat to the security and safety of citizens.

Currently six member states have internal border controls in place: Norway, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Austria, and France, mainly due to security reasons. On July 7 until July 13 Lithuania will also introduce border controls at its international airports and seaports, land border with Latvia, land border with Poland, due to the NATO Summit set to be held in Vilnius on July 11 and 12.

Source : Schengenvisa

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