The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985 in Schengen by five EU Member States — Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, and provides for gradual abolition of checks at their common borders. It also provides for enhancing the border checks and strengthening of the cooperation at the external borders, as well as developing active police cooperation.
In 1990 the states signed the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement, which contains detailed regulations and practical measures regarding the implementation of the provisions of the Schengen acquis.
The full implementation of the Schengen Agreement started in July of 1995 with the removal of checks at the common borders among seven EU Member States – Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal.
The fundamental idea of the Schengen Agreement and its Implementing Convention is to provide an opportunity for free movement across the borders between the Schengen states, and at the same time to guarantee the necessary level of security of the Member States through introduction of a series of measures compensating the “security deficit”, which is an inevitable consequence of the removal of internal border control. These measures include the common standards for border checks at the external borders, harmonized visa policy, active trans-border police and judicial cooperation, introduction of a common information system – SIS, harmonization of the national legislation, etc.
The implementation of the Schengen acquis contributes to the further development of the European Union as an area of freedom, security and justice.
The Treaty of Amsterdam (in force since 1 May 1999) integrated the Schengen acquis into the legal and institutional framework of the EU.
Today, a total of 25 countries implement fully the whole set of provisions of the Schengen acquis, including 22 EU Member States and three countries which are not EU Member States – Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
Ireland and the United Kingdom carry out border checks regarding persons traveling from the rest of the EU Member States and Schengen Member States.
Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus are preparing for their full membership in Schengen.
Updated on at Monday, March 30, 2009