BUDAPEST, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Hungarian and Austrian officials commemorated the moment when foreign ministers of the two countries cut the Iron Curtain on Thursday, ahead of Hungary's joining the European Union's common border control system, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.
At the ceremony in Sanktmargarethen im Burgenland, Austria, Hungarian Justice Minister Albert Takacs, Austrian Interior Minister Guenther Platter and EU Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs removed the lift-gates at both sides of the border-crossing station.
In his address, Kovacs said that dismantling the Iron Curtain 18 years ago was an event which eventually led to the Schengen enlargement and the elimination of internal European borders. The free movement of citizens ensures that people living in the new EUmember states will not have to feel second-rate Europeans any more, he added.
Takacs said he was proud of Hungary entering the Schengen zone and that removing the internal borders was a sign of freedom and security. He said he trusted that the Austrian authorities would continue to cooperate with Hungary as readily as they did during its preparations for the Schengen regime.
Hungary will join the European Union's common border control system at midnight on Dec. 20. From that time on, control on its land border with Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia will become a thing of the past.