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Signatures of the Schengen Agreement on 14 June 1985
|Signed||14 June 1985 |
(35 years, 7 months and 16 days ago)
|Effective||26 March 1995 |
(25 years, 10 months and 4 days ago)
| Belgium |
|Parties|| Austria |
|Depositary||Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg|
The Schengen Agreement (English: // ; Luxembourgish: [ˈʃæŋən] ( listen )) is a treaty which led to the creation of Europe's Schengen Area, in which internal border checks have largely been abolished. It was signed on 14 June 1985, near the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, by five of the ten member states of the then European Economic Community. It proposed measures intended to gradually abolish border checks at the signatories' common borders, including reduced-speed vehicle checks which allowed vehicles to cross borders without stopping, allowing residents in border areas freedom to cross borders away from fixed checkpoints, and the harmonisation of visa policies.
In 1990, the Agreement was supplemented by the Schengen Convention which proposed the complete abolition of systematic internal border controls and a common visa policy. The Schengen Area operates very much like a single state for international travel purposes with external border controls for travellers entering and exiting the area, and common visas, but with no internal border controls. It currently consists of 26 European countries covering a population of over 400 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometres (1,664,911 sq mi).
Originally, the Schengen treaties and the rules adopted under them operated independently from the European Union. However, in 1999 they were incorporated into European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty, while providing opt-outs for the only two EU member states that had remained outside the Area: Ireland and the United Kingdom (which subsequently withdrew from the EU in 2020). Schengen is now a core part of EU law, and all EU member states without an opt-out which have not already joined the Schengen Area are legally obliged to do so when technical requirements have been met. Several non-EU countries are included in the area.
Free movement of people was a core part of the original Treaty of Rome and, from the early days of the European Economic Community, nationals of EEC member states could travel freely from one member state to another on production of their passports or national identity cards. [ citation needed ]However, systematic identity controls were still in place at the border between most member states.
Disagreement between member states led to an impasse on the abolition of border controls within the Community, but in 1985 five of the then ten member states – Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany – signed an agreement on the gradual abolition of common border controls. The agreement was signed on the Princess Marie-Astrid boat on the river Moselle near the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, [ citation needed ]where the territories of France, Germany and Luxembourg meet. Three of the signatories, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, had already abolished common border controls as part of the Benelux Economic Union.
The Schengen Agreement was signed independently of the European Union, in part owing to the lack of consensus amongst EU member states over whether or not the EU had the jurisdiction to abolish border controls,and in part because those ready to implement the idea did not wish to wait for others (at this time there was no enhanced co-operation mechanism). The Agreement provided for harmonisation of visa policies, allowing residents in border areas the freedom to cross borders away from fixed checkpoints, the replacement of passport checks with visual surveillance of vehicles at reduced speed, and vehicle checks that allowed vehicles to cross borders without stopping.
In 1990, the Agreement was supplemented by the Schengen Convention which proposed the abolition of internal border controls and a common visa policy. It was this Convention that created the Schengen Area through the complete abolition of border controls between Schengen member states, common rules on visas, and police and judicial cooperation.[ citation needed ]
The Schengen Agreement and its implementing Convention were enacted in 1995 only for some signatories,[ which? ] but just over two years later during the Amsterdam Intergovernmental Conference, all European Union member states except the United Kingdom and Ireland had signed the Agreement. It was during those negotiations, which led to the Amsterdam Treaty, that the incorporation of the Schengen acquis into the main body of European Union law was agreed along with opt-outs for Ireland and the United Kingdom (which subsequently withdrew from the EU in 2020), which were to remain outside of the Schengen Area.
In December 1996 two non-EU member states, Norway and Iceland, signed an association agreement with the signatories of the Agreement to become part of the Schengen Area. While this agreement never came into force, both countries did become part of the Schengen Area after concluding similar agreements with the EU.The Schengen Convention itself was not open for signature by non-EU member states. In 2009, Switzerland finalised its official entry to the Schengen Area with the acceptance of an association agreement by popular referendum in 2005.
Now that the Schengen Agreement is part of the acquis communautaire , it has, for EU members, lost the status of a treaty, which could only be amended according to its terms. Instead, amendments are made according to the legislative procedure of the EU under EU treaties. [ citation needed ]Ratification by the former agreement signatory states is not required for altering or repealing some or all of the former Schengen acquis. Legal acts setting out the conditions for entry into the Schengen Area are now made by majority vote in the EU's legislative bodies. New EU member states do not sign the Schengen Agreement as such, instead being bound to implement the Schengen rules as part of the pre-existing body of EU law, which every new entrant is required to accept.
This situation means that non-EU Schengen member states have few formally binding options to influence the shaping and evolution of Schengen rules; their options are effectively reduced to agreeing or withdrawing from the agreement. However, consultations with affected countries are conducted prior to the adoption of particular new legislation.
In 2016, border controls were temporarily reintroduced in seven Schengen countries (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Sweden) in response to the European migrant crisis.
Portugal has since reintroduced checks several times along its border with Spain, during the UEFA Euro 2004 championships and when Portugal hosted the NATO 2010 Lisbon summit. The most recent checks were temporarily reintroduced on the border from 10 May 2017 to 14 May 2017, during Pope Francis's visit to Fátima, Portugal.
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization and free trade area consisting of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The organization operates in parallel with the European Union (EU), and all four member states participate in the European Single Market and are part of the Schengen Area. They are not, however, party to the European Union Customs Union.
The Schengen Information System (SIS) is a governmental database maintained by the European Commission. The SIS is used by 31 European countries to find information about individuals and entities for the purposes of national security, border control and law enforcement since 2001. A second technical version of this system, SIS II, went live on 9 April 2013.
The special territories of the European Union are 22 dependent territories of EU member states which, for historical, geographical, or political reasons, enjoy special status within or outside the European Union.
European integration is the process of industrial, economic, political, legal, social and cultural integration of states wholly or partially in Europe or nearby. European integration has primarily come about through the European Union and its policies.
The Nordic Passport Union allows citizens of the Nordic countries – Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland – to travel and reside in another Nordic country without any travel documentation or a residence permit. Since 25 March 2001, all five states have also been within the Schengen Area. The Faroe Islands are part of the Nordic Passport Union but not the Schengen Area, while Greenland and Svalbard are outside both. However, Greenland has an open border with all Nordic countries, and allows Nordic citizens to enter, settle and work without requiring a passport or permits. Svalbard allows Nordic citizens to settle and work without permits, as a result of the Svalbard Treaty, however valid travel documentation is required to enter Svalbard. Norwegian citizens may use other documents such as a Norwegian driving licence until 31 December 2021. Furthermore, as citizens of a Nordic country, those from Svalbard and Greenland are permitted to reside in any other Nordic country.
The most recent enlargement of the European Union saw Croatia become the European Union's 28th member state on 1 July 2013. The country applied for EU membership in 2003, and the European Commission recommended making it an official candidate in early 2004. Candidate country status was granted to Croatia by the European Council in mid-2004. The entry negotiations, while originally set for March 2005, began in October that year together with the screening process.
The visa policy of the Schengen Area is set by the European Union and applies to the Schengen Area and to other EU member states except Ireland. The visa policy allows nationals of certain countries to enter the Schengen Area via air, land or sea without a visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Nationals of certain other countries are required to have a visa either upon arrival or in transit.
Liechtenstein passports are issued to nationals of Liechtenstein for the purpose of international travel. Beside serving as proof of Liechtenstein citizenship, they facilitate the process of securing assistance from Liechtenstein consular officials abroad.
In general, the law of the European Union is valid in all of the twenty-seven European Union member states. However, occasionally member states negotiate certain opt-outs from legislation or treaties of the European Union, meaning they do not have to participate in certain policy areas. Currently, three states have such opt-outs: Denmark, Republic of Ireland and Poland. The United Kingdom had various opt-outs before leaving the Union.
The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European countries that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The area is named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement signed in Schengen, Luxembourg.
A preliminary ruling is a decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the interpretation of European Union law, given in response to a request from a court or tribunal of a European Union Member State. A preliminary ruling is a final determination of EU law, with no scope for appeal. The ECJ hands down its decision to the referring court, which is then obliged to implement the ruling.
The area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) is a collection of home affairs and justice policies designed to ensure security, rights and free movement within the European Union (EU). Areas covered include the harmonisation of private international law, extradition arrangements between member states, policies on internal and external border controls, common travel visa, immigration and asylum policies and police and judicial cooperation.
Relations between the Principality of Liechtensteinand the European Union (EU) are shaped heavily by Liechtenstein's participation in the European Economic Area (EEA).
National identity cards are issued to their citizens by the governments of all European Economic Area (EEA) member states except Denmark, Iceland and Ireland. Ireland however issues a passport card which is valid as a national identity card in the EEA and Switzerland. Denmark and Iceland issues simpler identity cards that are not valid as travel documents. The various identity card styles currently in use in the EEA are intended to be standardized and replaced by the European identity card from 2 August 2021.
In accordance with the law, citizens of all countries except the Schengen Area are required to have a visa to visit Tuvalu. Visas are obtained on arrival and are issued for a maximum stay of 1 month. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months.
The Treaties of the European Union are a set of international treaties between the European Union (EU) member states which sets out the EU's constitutional basis. They establish the various EU institutions together with their remit, procedures and objectives. The EU can only act within the competences granted to it through these treaties and amendment to the treaties requires the agreement and ratification of every single signatory.
The Andorra–France border extends for 57 km (35 mi) in southern France and northern and north-eastern Andorra.
The Schengen acquis is a set of rules and legislation, integrated into European Union law, which regulate the abolition of border controls at the internal borders within the Schengen Area, as well as the strengthening of border controls at the external borders.
Passports of the EFTA member states are passports issued by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. EFTA is in this article used as a common name for these countries.
Passports in Europe are issued by each state individually, e.g. the Netherlands or UK. In general, passports issued in Europe either grant the holder the right of freedom of movement within the European Economic Area, to those that don't. The majority of European states are members of the European Union, and therefore issue EU passports.
In practice, this involvement takes the form of mixed committees that meet alongside the working parties of the EU Council. They comprise representatives of the Member States' governments, the Commission and the governments of third countries. Associated countries therefore participate in discussions on the development of the Schengen acquis, but do not take part in voting. Procedures for notifying and accepting future measures or acts have been laid down.
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