The European Border Agreement: An Overview
The European Border Agreement, also known as the Schengen Agreement, is a treaty signed in 1985 by five European countries to eliminate border controls between them. Since then, the agreement has expanded and currently includes 26 European countries, most of which are members of the European Union. The agreement allows citizens to travel freely within the Schengen area without passport checks or other border controls.
The Schengen area covers a land area of around 4.3 million square kilometers and is home to more than 400 million people. The area is a major hub for business and tourism, with millions of visitors traveling to Schengen countries each year. The agreement has had a transformative effect on the European economy, creating new jobs and markets and boosting trade and investment.
The Schengen Agreement has four main principles:
1. The abolition of internal border controls: The agreement eliminates all passport and other border checks between Schengen countries, allowing for free movement of people and goods.
2. A common policy on external borders: The Schengen countries share a common policy on external borders, regulating who can enter the Schengen area and under what conditions.
3. Police and judicial cooperation: The Schengen countries cooperate on law enforcement and judicial matters, including the exchange of information and the pursuit of criminals across borders.
4. Civil rights and data protection: The agreement ensures that the rights of citizens are protected, including the right to privacy and the protection of personal data.
The Schengen Agreement has faced challenges in recent years, particularly in the wake of the migration crisis of 2015-2016. Some countries have sought to reintroduce border controls in response to the crisis, citing concerns over security and the ability to manage the influx of migrants. However, the European Union has maintained that the agreement remains vital to the functioning of the European economy and society, and has reaffirmed its commitment to the principles of free movement and a shared external border policy.
In conclusion, the European Border Agreement, or Schengen Agreement, has had a transformative effect on the European economy and society. The principles of free movement, shared external border policy, law enforcement cooperation, and civil rights and data protection have created a dynamic and interconnected Europe. While the agreement faces ongoing challenges, its impact is clear, and it remains a vital component of the European Union`s mission to promote peace, prosperity, and cooperation across the continent.