The Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries that have abolished all passport and immigration controls at their mutual borders. It functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy.
However, not all European countries are part of the Schengen Region. Some countries did not sign the Schengen Agreement while others have opted out of it.
Being a Schengen state has many advantages. For example, it makes traveling within Europe much easier and cheaper as there are no longer any border controls or passport checks. This also applies to trade and the movement of goods and services.
So how can a country join the Schengen Area?
In order to become a member of the Schengen Region, a country must first meet certain criteria laid out in the Schengen acquis.
The Schengen acquis is a set of rules and regulations that all member states must adhere to. This includes everything from border control and security to law enforcement and asylum policy.
Once a country has met the necessary criteria, it can then apply to join the Schengen Area. The process of applying to join the Schengen Region is not an easy one. It can take many years and requires a great deal of preparation.
Here’s what countries need to do in order to join the Schengen Area:
1. Meet the Schengen criteria – The first step in joining the Schengen Area is to meet the Schengen criteria. This includes having a well-functioning democracy, a stable economy, and effective border controls.
2. Apply to become a member of the Schengen Region – Once a country has met the necessary criteria, it can then apply to join the Schengen Area. A commission will then be set up to assess the country’s application.
3. Go through the accession process – If the commission decides that the country is ready to join the Schengen Region, it will then go through an accession process. This involves signing a treaty and ratifying it.
4. Join the Schengen Area – The final step is for the country to actually join the Schengen Area. This usually happens after the accession process has been completed and all the necessary requirements have been met.
How the Schengen Area was created?
The Schengen Area was created in 1985 with the signing of the Schengen Agreement by five European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
The agreement was named after the town of Schengen in Luxembourg where it was signed. The aim of the agreement was to gradually abolish all passport and immigration controls at the internal borders of the signatory countries.
The Schengen Agreement came into force in 1995 with the signing of the Treaty of Amsterdam. This treaty added three new members to the Schengen Region: Denmark, Finland, and Sweden.
Since then, several other European countries have joined the Schengen Area. Most recently, Croatia became a member in 2015.
What countries are in the Schengen Area?
There are 26 countries in the Schengen Area, these countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
These countries are sometimes referred to as the Schengen states.
Which European countries are not in the Schengen Area?
There are a number of European countries that are not part of the Schengen Area. These countries include Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Georgia, Ireland, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the Vatican City.
What are the benefits of being a Schengen state?
There are many benefits to being a member of the Schengen Region. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it makes traveling within Europe much easier and cheaper.
There are no longer any border controls or passport checks when traveling between Schengen states. The same can be said for trade and the movement of goods and services. This makes life much easier for businesses that operate in multiple European countries. It also makes it easier for people to study and work in Europe.
Another benefit of being a Schengen state is that it allows the free movement of people. This means that citizens of Schengen states can live and work in any other Schengen state. This is a great benefit for young people who want to study or work abroad. It is also beneficial for businesses as it allows them to easily relocate employees to other parts of Europe.
Another benefit of being a Schengen state is that it allows for greater cooperation between police and law enforcement agencies. This makes it easier to track down criminals and bring them to justice.
It also makes it easier to gather intelligence and share information on security threats. This cooperation is important in today’s world where the threat of terrorism is ever-present.
Are there disadvantages to being a member of the Schengen region?
Being part of the Schengen Area has many advantages, but there are also some disadvantages. From security concerns to the risk of becoming a transit country for illegal immigration, there are some potential drawbacks to being part of the Schengen Region.
One of the biggest disadvantages is that it can make a country a target for terrorists. The open borders and free movement of people make it easier for terrorists to travel undetected between countries. This was demonstrated by the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, which were carried out by terrorists who had entered Europe through Greece.
Another disadvantage is that being a Schengen state can make a country a transit point for illegal immigration. The 2015 migrant crisis, when large numbers of refugees and migrants entered Europe through countries like Greece and Italy, is a prime example of this.
This put a strain on the resources of these countries and led to tension between different European nations. Some countries, like Hungary and Slovenia, responded by erecting border fences to stop the flow of illegal migrants.
So while being part of the Schengen Area has many benefits, there are also some potential disadvantages that countries should be aware of.
Since its conception, the Schengen Area has grown to become one of the most important aspects of European integration. The abolishment of border controls and the free movement of people has made traveling within Europe much easier and has boosted trade and commerce.
However, being part of the Schengen Area also comes with some risks. Open borders make it easier for criminals and terrorists to move around undetected. And the free movement of people can put a strain on a country’s resources if there is a sudden influx of refugees or migrants.
Despite these risks, the benefits of being a Schengen state far outweigh the disadvantages. For most countries, being part of the Schengen Area is a positive experience. Bringing the citizens of Europe closer together and expanding the opportunities for trade and commerce make it a very worthwhile endeavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many Schengen countries are there?
There are 26 Schengen countries. 22 of these are members of the European Union and 4 are members of the European Free Trade Association.
Why is Romania not part of Schengen?
Despite being an EU member, Romania is not part of the Schengen Area. This is because Dutch officials raised concerns about the country’s high levels of corruption and organized crime. They argued that opening the Schengen borders to Romania would pose a security risk to the rest of the Schengen area.
Will the UK ever join Schengen?
Very likely not. After UK’s exit from the European Union on February 2020, the country is no longer bound by EU rules and regulations. This means that the UK is now free to set its own immigration policies. Given the current political climate in the UK, it is unlikely that the government will opt to join the Schengen Area in the near future.
What is the difference between the EU and the Schengen Area?
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states. The Schengen Area is a subset of the EU that consists of 26 member states. The main difference between the two is that the Schengen Area has abolished border controls between member states, while the EU still maintains some degree of control over its member states’ borders.