Schengen thirty years on: results, realities, challenges

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Series Details No.361, June 2015
Publication Date 15/06/2015
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The Schengen Agreement was concluded on 14th June 1985. It led to the creation of a free area of movement of people which is a fundamental achievement of European integration. For the implementation of the programme the "Schengen Border Code" set standards and procedures in terms of crossing the Union's external and internal borders. The principle comprises there being no impediment to people crossing the area's internal borders. However the regulation establishing the "Schengen Border Code" provided for the, exceptional, temporary re-instatement of internal border controls on a State's initiative in the event of "serious threats to public order or internal security."

Following requests made by France and Italy in April 2011, in the context of the "Arab Spring", legislative proposals were adopted in 2013 to widen the possibilities of re-instating temporary controls on the basis of a Council recommendation and as a last resort in the event of serious failure on the part of a Member State to fulfil its commitments in terms of border control. Moreover this area of free movement cannot exist without strong compensatory measures, which were planned from the start, that enable the strengthening of the external borders. Their effectiveness conditions the security of the Schengen area. They have been improved to rise to new migratory problems. However faced with these unprecedented challenges in a context of serious destabilisation on its doorstep the Schengen area has been called to take further measures to ensure the effective control of its external borders whilst responding to a humanitarian emergency.

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