The Schengen Agreement of 1985 is an important treaty that facilitated free movement across European borders, and it continues to shape the modern European Union today. The treaty was named after the village of Schengen in Luxembourg, where it was signed by five European states on June 14, 1985. Since then, it has been amended and extended numerous times to include almost all European Union countries and several non-EU countries.
The text of the Schengen Agreement of 1985 outlines the principles of free movement and the abolition of border controls between the signatory countries. The agreement was originally signed by France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, and aimed to eliminate the need for passports and border checks for citizens traveling within the Schengen area. The agreement also established a joint database to collect information about criminal and terrorist activities in the region.
The Schengen area has since been expanded to include almost all EU member states, including countries outside the EU such as Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland. As of 2021, only a handful of EU countries, such as Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania, are not yet part of the Schengen area. These countries are currently in the process of meeting the necessary requirements to join.
One of the most significant changes to the Schengen Agreement occurred after the 2015 refugee crisis, when several EU countries reintroduced border controls to manage the influx of refugees. In response, the EU introduced temporary controls in 2016, allowing countries to reintroduce border checks for up to two years. These controls have been extended several times and are currently in place until at least May 2022.
In addition to free movement and border control issues, the Schengen Agreement also addresses other areas such as visa policies, police cooperation, and the sharing of criminal records. For example, the Schengen Information System (SIS) is a central database that allows law enforcement agencies to share information about suspects and stolen items across the Schengen area.
As a professional, it`s important to note that the Schengen Agreement of 1985 is a crucial part of European history and politics. By removing barriers between countries and facilitating free movement, it has helped to promote economic growth, cultural exchange, and cooperation among European nations. The Schengen area continues to evolve and adapt to changing circumstances, and its impact on the future of Europe is sure to be significant.