Migration and Home Affairs

Schengen agreement 30 years

Friday, 12 June, 2015

Europe is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Schengen Agreement. This was signed on 14 June 1985 and marked the start of the process that abolished the controls at the borders between the Member States (the so-called "internal borders"). The first borders were opened ten years later, in March 1995.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship said:

"The Schengen agreement has fundamentally transformed the European landscape. Removing the control at the borders between the Member States is one of the most outstanding achievements of European integration visible to every cross-border traveler. It would not have been possible without the mutual trust between the Member States. Mutual trust and close cooperation is something that we need today and I hope that this anniversary will mobilise us to join our efforts in addressing the common challenges not only in the Schengen cooperation, but in the entire area of migration."

The original signatories of this Agreement were Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It was integrated into the legal framework of the EU with the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999.

The present-day Schengen area covers 26 countries: all EU Member States except UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia, plus the non EU countries Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Estimates show that over 1.25 billion journeys within the Schengen area made every year. Apart from abolishing the controls at the internal borders, the Schengen cooperation created common rules covering the checks at the external borders, harmonised the conditions of entry and the rules on visas for short stays, enhanced police cooperation and strengthened the cooperation between the judicial authorities.

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