What Is a Schengen Agreement

Differences of opinion between Member States led to an impasse in 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 phasing out of common border controls. The agreement was signed on the ship Princess Marie-Astrid on the Moselle near the city of Schengen, Luxembourg[5], where the territories of France, Germany and Luxembourg meet. Three of the signatories, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, had already abolished common border controls within the framework of the Benelux Economic Union. [Citation needed] The ETIAS travel authorisation gives access to all the countries covered by the Schengen Agreement, i.e. the ETIAS and Schengen countries are the same, an ETIAS authorisation is effectively a Schengen visa. The competent authorities shall respond to requests for information as soon as possible and no later than 60 days after the date of the request. They must respond to requests for rectification or erasure as soon as possible, but no later than three months after the date of the request, and inform the person of the measures he has taken. Where national rules provide for shorter response times, those shorter deadlines shall apply. Germany does not have shorter response times. Of the 27 EU Member States, 22 participate in the Schengen area.

Of the five EU member states that are not part of the Schengen area, four – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania – are legally required to join the territory in the future, while the other – Ireland – retains a derogation. The four Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, are not members of the EU, but have signed agreements in conjunction with the Schengen Agreement. Three European micro-states that are not members of the European Union but are enclaves or semi-enclaves within an EU member state – Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City – are de facto part of the Schengen area. After Slovakia, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Poland announced the complete closure of their national borders in mid-March, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Some controls may be justified, but general travel bans are not considered the most effective by the World Health Organisation. In addition, they have a strong social and economic impact, disrupting the lives of people and businesses across borders. [166] Von der Leyen also apologized to Italy, amid widespread discontent among Italians over the lack of solidarity in Europe. [167] At the end of March 2020, almost all internal borders in the Schengen area were closed to non-essential travel. By July 2020, most of the borders closed due to the coronavirus had been reopened.

Now that the Schengen Agreement is part of the acquis communautaire, it has lost treaty status for EU members, which could only be changed on its terms. Instead, changes are made in accordance with the EU legislative process under the EU Treaties. [12] Ratification by the former signatories of the Convention is not necessary to amend or repeal the former Schengen acquis in whole or in part. [13] Acts laying down the conditions for accession to the Schengen area are now adopted by a majority of EU legislative bodies. The new EU Member States do not sign the Schengen Agreement as such, but are required to implement the Schengen rules within the framework of the already existing EU legislation that any new entrant must accept. [Citation needed] Before concluding an agreement with a neighbouring country, the Schengen state must obtain the approval of the European Commission, which must confirm that the draft agreement complies with the regulation. The agreement can only be concluded if the neighbouring country grants reciprocal rights to at least EEA and Swiss citizens residing on the Schengen side of the border area and accepts the return of persons who abuse the border agreement. Visa liberalisation negotiations between the EU and the Western Balkans (with the exception of Kosovo) started in the first half of 2008 and were completed in 2009 (for Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) and 2010 (for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Before the complete abolition of visas, the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) had signed “visa facilitation agreements” with the Schengen states in 2008. Visa facilitation agreements at the time were aimed at shortening wait times, reducing visa fees (including free visas for certain categories of travellers) and reducing red tape. In practice, however, the new procedures have proven to be longer, heavier, more costly, and many people have complained that it is easier to obtain visas before the entry into force of the facilitation agreements. [290] [291] [292] There are or have been plans for small-border agreements between Lithuania and Russia, Poland-Belarus, Bulgaria-Serbia and Bulgaria-North Macedonia. [281] The agreement between Poland and Belarus was due to enter into force in 2012,[282] but was delayed by Belarus,[283] was set without an implementation date (october 2012). [284] Relations between Iceland and Norway, of the one part, and Ireland and the United Kingdom, of the other part, concerning the areas of the Schengen acquis applicable to Iceland and Norway are governed by an agreement approved by the Council of the European Union on 28 June 1999. .