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Last Updated: Friday, 21 December 2007, 15:45 GMT
In pictures: Border-free EU grows

Hungarian government leaders hold a dismantled barrier at the border station of Hegyeshalom just after midnight on Friday 21 December 2007

As Hungary and eight other EU countries join the Schengen zone, Hungarian PM Ferenc Gyurcsany (C) and his ministers hold a dismantled barrier at the border town of Hegyeshalom.

Fireworks in Hegyeshalom just after midnight on Friday 21 December 2007

Fireworks, music and cheers across the nine newcomer nations greeted the expansion of the border-free zone - which now embraces 400m people.

Polish officials raise a dismantled barrier at the German-Polish border in Ahlbeck, northern Germany, on Friday 21 December 2007

These Polish officials held their own celebrations as the EU extended the area for passport-free travel to include eight former communist countries in Eastern Europe, plus Malta.

People cross the Maria-Valeria bridge over the Danube between Hungary and Slovakia

In places like the Hungary-Slovakia border, separated by the Danube, people walked freely across the river bridge as fireworks lit up the night.

German and Polish border police lift a barrier in Zittau, as the leaders of both countries look on

Friday morning saw official celebrations in many places, such as Zittau, where the borders of Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland meet.

A German and a Polish border guard by the crossing point at Frankfurt/Oder

In Frankfurt/Oder, on the German-Polish "frontier", border guards from each country have begun joint, bilingual patrols.

A worker cuts down the fence between Germany and Poland in Ahlbeck, Germany

Border controls in a long arc from Estonia to Malta are redundant for the 24 countries now belonging to the Schengen area.

Boarder guards at a checkpoint in Tallinn, Estonia, mark the Schengen expansion on 20 December 2007

These Estonian border guards were on duty as passport checks were being eliminated at land and sea ports. Airports will follow at the end of March 2008.

Ukrainian guard tower on border with Poland

Poland's frontier with Ukraine is now at the eastern limit of the border-free Schengen zone.


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