Schengen Association Agreement
The Schengen Association Agreement: What You Need to Know
The Schengen Association Agreement, also known as the Schengen Agreement, is a treaty adopted by several European countries in 1985 with the aim of abolishing internal borders and establishing a common area of free movement for their citizens.
The agreement was named after the village of Schengen in Luxembourg where it was signed. It originally included five countries – Belgium, France, West Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands – but has since been expanded to encompass 26 European countries, including most EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
Under the terms of the Schengen Agreement, citizens of the participating countries are able to travel freely within the Schengen Area without the need for border checks or passports. This has made travel within Europe easier and more convenient for millions of people.
However, the Schengen Agreement also means that countries within the Schengen Area must cooperate closely when it comes to border control and security. This includes sharing information about criminal activity and potential security threats, as well as implementing common procedures for the issuance of visas and the management of external borders.
The Schengen Agreement has also had an impact on immigration policy within the participating countries. While citizens of Schengen countries are able to move freely within the area, non-EU citizens are subject to stricter rules and regulations. As a result, the Schengen Agreement has become a key issue in the ongoing debate about immigration and refugee policy in Europe.
In recent years, the Schengen Agreement has faced significant challenges. The refugee crisis in the Mediterranean has led to increased pressure on the external borders of the Schengen Area, with some countries reintroducing temporary border controls in response to the influx of migrants and refugees.
Despite these challenges, the Schengen Agreement remains an important symbol of European unity and cooperation. As the EU continues to grapple with issues of immigration and security, the future of the Schengen Area will continue to be a topic of debate and discussion.
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