Schengen treaty

From Academic Kids

Blue: Schengen treaty membersGrey: Signatories (not yet implemented)
Blue: Schengen treaty members
Grey: Signatories (not yet implemented)

The Schengen treaty is an agreement originally signed on June 14, 1985, by five European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands). The agreement was signed aboard the ship Princesse Marie-Astrid on the Moselle River, near Schengen, a small town in Luxembourg on the border with France and Germany.

Its goal was to end border checkpoints and controls within the Schengen area (also known as Schengenland) and harmonize external border controls. It was originally separate from the European Union (then European Community) but has since become an EU competence, although there are some non-EU members in the Schengen area, and some EU members are outside the area.

Additional countries have since also signed the convention, making the total number of signatories twenty-six.

A monument of the Schengen Treaty in Schengen
A monument of the Schengen Treaty in Schengen

Membership and implementation

The treaty signed in 1985 set out the steps to be taken to create the Schengen area. A further document, called the Schengen Convention (or more fully: Convention applying the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the governments of the states of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders), was created which put the Schengen area into practice. This second document replaced the first and was signed by each country on the dates shown below.

For each member country there has been a delay between signing the treaty (becoming a member) and actually implementing it.



The ten countries who signed on May 1 2004 are set to implement the treaty in October 2007. Switzerland also has to implement the treaty; therefore only fifteen countries are currently full members of the Schengen Treaty.

The microstates of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City and the territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands have free movement arrangements with signatories of the treaty. Liechtenstein has a free movement arrangement with Switzerland. But it is not clear if full participation into the Schengen space is part of these arrangements - if the microstates participate in SIS-I/II, if the internal border controls are abolished, etc.

Borders remain between Andorra and the European Union. EU citizens do not need a visa but people who require Schengen visas should ask for a several entries visa.

Liechtenstein, for instance, will start negotiations for official entry into the SIS in autumn of 2005. 1 (

The Schengen Treaty's provisions

The Schengen Treaty means that people within the participating countries can move into any other participating country without having to show their passports, or in any other way being checked. The Schengen Treaty also means that participating countries will co-ordinate their external controls. This is necessary since a person acceptable to one country but not to another can still enter both, if one admits him. For example, immigration policy must be agreed upon as immigrants can enter through the most relaxed border and make their way to less hospitable countries once within Schengenland unless entry criteria are homogeneous.

A country is permitted by the terms of the treaty to reinstate border controls for a short period if it is deemed in the interest of national security. This occurred in Portugal during the 2004 European Football Championship and in France for the ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

The Schengen Treaty also includes consent to share information about people, via the Schengen Information System. This means that a potentially undesirable person cannot 'disappear' simply by moving from one participant country to another as each country will know the same about the person's background.

Previously, a criminal with police in hot pursuit would be safe once they managed to cross the border, but under the agreements of the Schengen Treaty police from one nation can cross national borders to chase their target.

The Schengen Treaty intends to harmonise the laws and regulations of several policy areas, in order to minimise the extent to which criminals can take advantage of the relaxation of controls. For example, the Dutch policy on drugs differs from the French policy, and a person could buy drugs in the Netherlands and transport them to France to sell on the black market. This is much easier when there are no border controls between the two countries. As a result of this particular difference in policy France insisted on maintaining border controls on people entering France from the Benelux countries for some time after the Treaty was implemented.

Schengen and the European Union

All Schengen Treaty signatories except Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are European Union members. Two EU members (the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland) have opted not to sign the Schengen Treaty. The UK wishes to maintain its own borders. Ireland has a free movement arrangement with the UK (called the Common Travel Area) similar to the Schengen Treaty, so in order to maintain this it can only sign the Schengen Treaty if the UK does. On May 29, 2000 the UK and Ireland began participating in the Schengen Information System. The islands of Heligoland (Germany) are also outside the Schengen area.

Missing image
A Schengen Visa issued in one state is valid in all others

The Schengen Treaty was created independently of the European Union in part due to the lack of consensus amongst EU members, and in part because those ready to implement the idea did not wish to wait for others who were not ready.

The Treaty of Amsterdam incorporated the developments brought about by the Schengen agreement into the European Union framework, effectively making the Schengen Treaty part of the EU. Amongst other things the Council of the European Union took the place of the Executive Committee which had been created under the Schengen agreement. Future applicants to the European Union must fulfill the Schengen Treaty criteria regarding their external border policies in order to be accepted into the EU. The existing signatories who are not EU members have less opportunity to participate in shaping the evolution of the Schengen Treaty as a result of the Treaty of Amsterdam. Their options are effectively reduced to agreeing with whatever is presented before them or withdrawing from the Treaty.

Despite the Schengen Treaty having been incorporated into the EU, it has not been voted upon by any EU institution. Because of this, there are some concerns regarding the democratic accountability of the Treaty. Greece, prior to accepting and signing the treaty, raised questions about the legality of the Schengen Information System, and suggested that it represented a violation of privacy.

Gaining entry

For citizens of countries not party to the Schengen treaty restrictions exist that govern the length of one's stay within the Schengen area. The general rule stipulates a maximum 90-day stay within a 180-day period beginning from the first day of entry. One may leave and return a number of times within the 180-day period but the combined stay within the region must total no more than 90 days.

External links

European Union (EU) and candidates for enlargement Missing image
Flag of the European Union

Member countries: Austria | Belgium | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Hungary | Ireland | Italy | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malta | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain | Sweden | United Kingdom

Acceding countries joining on January 1, 2007: Bulgaria | Romania

Other recognised candidate countries: Croatia | Turkey

bg:Шенгенско споразумение

da:Schengen-samarbejdet de:Schengener Abkommen es:Acuerdo de Schengen eo:Schengen fr:Convention de Schengen it:Accordi di Schengen lb:Schengener Ofkommes nl:Akkoorden van Schengen no:Schengen-traktaten pl:Układ z Schengen ru:Шенгенское соглашение sr:Шенгенски уговор sv:Schengensamarbetet zh:申根公约


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools