To date, the Schengen area consists of 25 European countries that have acceded to the agreement of the same name. Based on this agreement, passport and customs control between all participants in the zone is canceled, and citizens can freely move around each other's territories. It was signed in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on a pleasure boat near the city of Schengen in 1985.
Over the years, the number of countries has constantly changed, increasing from year to year. Initially, 5 states participated in the signing: Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and after entering into force on 26/03/1995, 2 more countries joined it: Spain and Portugal. Subsequently, in 1997, the Schengen zone (the countries of Austria and Italy managed to become a part) numbered nine states. The Amsterdam Treaty has made significant changes to the EU agreement, its legal rules.
In 2000, Greece joins without Athos, and in 2001 it includes the states: Scandinavia, Sweden and Finland, and non-EU Norway and Iceland. In 2006, a border code was adopted, which is updated in 2010 and a binding document such as a Category B transit visa is added.
The largest expansion took place in 2007, when Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Estonia were included. In 2008, the Schengen area is replenished by Switzerland, and at the end of 2011, another country joins this free customs space - Liechtenstein. They become the 3rd and 4th states that are not members of the European Union. For Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, visa-free entry into the countries of this agreement was allowed from 01/01/2010.
In the implementation of international travel, the Schengen area involves a single border control on the external border. In addition, it largely acts as a single state. Departure and entry is carried out without border control and compliance with various formalities at the internal borders of the states included in this zone. In addition, the Schengen zone significantly strengthens border control with third states that have direct borders with it. They undertake to maintain and maintain a unified policy and accounting for each temporarily moving person, conduct timely control of external borders and develop cross-border judicial and police cooperation.
In exceptional cases, when a threat to public order or internal security is possible (during various sports competitions, congresses, important political summits), border control of internal borders between some countries of this space can be restored. This period is limited to 30 days.
The Schengen area unites the territories of states where its legislation is in force, and the movement of people flows at the maximum convenient and unhindered mode. It officially includes the de facto three micro-states in Europe: the Vatican, San Marino and Monaco. In addition, Andorra has no internal control at the borders with the countries of this zone. The Schengen area (the countries of Ireland and the UK are not yet included in its structure) will be expanded soon. This is evidenced by the consent of these countries to join. In the future, the accession of Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania is also possible, which is currently undergoing heated debate. Today, the Schengen zone covers a little less than 4.5 million km 2 and more than 400 million people live here.
Before joining, countries must pass and receive a readiness assessment in four areas: air borders, visas, police cooperation, and personal data protection. In the role of evaluators are representatives - special experts of European countries.