Malta Airport Schengen compliant thanks to Norwegian support
Another milestone within the European integration efforts was reached on Monday 11 June when Malta International Airport was split into separate terminals for Schengen and non-Schengen travels - marking both Malta’s preparedness for membership in the Schengen border-free travel zone and the first completed project under the EEA Grants.
With financial assistance from Norway, the Maltese airport has been divided into one terminal for those travelling within the Schengen area and another for those travelling to or from third countries. Intensive construction work has taken place on the airport over the last year as part of the preparations for Malta’s entry into the world’s largest passport-free zone in 2008.
Well ahead of schedule, immigration and police officers could switch on their computers in the non-Schengen departure hall on Monday night to the sound of a string orchestra and the popping of champagne corks. By establishing the new non-Schengen departure hall Malta is now in full compliance with the infrastructure needed to join Schengen. The project had a price tag of €1 million, of which Norway’s support accounted for about half.
The EEA and Norway Grants, collectively known as the EEA Grants, represent the contribution from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway towards European cohesion efforts by reducing social and economic disparities, help new EU member integrate fully into the Internal Market and strengthening bilateral cooperation. Under the EEA Grants, Malta is eligible for a total €3.62 million over the five-year commitment period until April 2009.
“It is fitting that this ceremony - which marks the newly established Non-Schengen Departures Facilities at Malta International Airport - also marks the very first completed project under the EEA Grants,” Einar Bull, Norway’s ambassador to Italy and Malta, said at the opening ceremony of the new terminal, referring to the constructive cooperation and close dialogue between Malta and the donor states in the implementation of the EEA Grants. Malta has prioritised Schengen projects under the EEA Grants, and in his speech Malta’s Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi stressed the importance of Schengen membership for the country’s integration into Europe.
Implemention of Schengen Acquis requirements at Malta International Airport by April 2007
Schengen and judiciary
Type & project assistance:
Malta International Airport plc
Type of institution:
Private owned enterprise
Grant agreement date:
15 June 2007
The purpose of the project is to construct separate departure halls for Schengen and non-Schengen departures at Malta International Airport with the overall objective of securing segregation of Schengen and non-Schengen passengers at the airport according to the provisions set out in the Schengen Acquis. Reference is made to the application, dated 27 October 2005 and additional information provided by and through the National Focal Point dated 7 December 2006.
The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:
- Construction works converting the existing arrivals hall into a non-Schengen departures hall;
- Construction works converting the existing departures into a departure hall for departures to the Schengen area;
- Construction works for flexible gates for both Schengen and non-Schengen departures to be used in either configuration according to demand.
The Project Promoter is Malta International Airport plc.