History of Schengen Area

The story began in 1985, when five EU states decided to abolish internal border controls — the Schengen area was born. The “Schengen”  was named after a small village in Luxembourg that is located on the point where its borders meet those of Germany and France. Europeans make over 1.25 billion journeys within the Schengen area every year. The creation of the Schengen area is one of the greatest achievements of the EU and it is irreversible according to Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.

Schengen AreaThe border-free Schengen Area guarantees free movement to more than 400 million EU citizens, as well as to many non-EU nationals, businessmen, tourists or other persons legally present on the EU territory.

June 1985

Schengen Agreement signed by Belgium, Germany,
France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands

June 1990

Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement
signed by Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and
the Netherlands

March 1995

Convention entered into force and border controls
abolished between Belgium, Germany, Spain, France,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal (Spain and
Portugal signed the agreement in June 1991)

October 1997

Border controls abolished with Italy (agreement signed
in November 1990)

December 1997

Border controls abolished with Austria (agreement
signed in April 1995)

May 1999

Treaty of Amsterdam integrated Schengen cooperation
into the legal framework of the EU

January 2000

Border controls abolished with Greece (agreement
signed in November 1992)
March 2001
Border controls abolished with Denmark, Finland,
Sweden, Iceland and Norway (agreements signed in
December 1996)

December 2007

Abolition of land and sea border controls with the Czech
Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta,
Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia

March 2008

Abolition of border controls at airports with the Czech
Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta,
Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia

December 2008

Abolition of land border controls with Switzerland
(agreement signed in October 2004)

March 2009

Abolition of border controls at airports with Switzerland

December 2011

Abolition of border controls with Liechtenstein
(agreement signed in February 2008)



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