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What is the Schengen area?
The border-free Schengen Area guarantees free movement to more than 400 million EU citizens, along with non-EU nationals living in the EU or visiting the EU as tourists, exchange students or for business purposes (anyone legally present in the EU). Free movement of persons enables every EU citizen to travel, work and live in an EU country without special formalities. Schengen underpins this freedom by enabling citizens to move around the Schengen Area without being subject to border checks.
The Schengen Agreement is an agreement between several countries in Europe for abolition of border control on internal borders and common visa system. It was signed on June 14 1985 on the board of river-boat „Princess Maria-Astrid“ in Schengen, Luxembourg between five of the ten member states of the
Today, the Schengen Area encompasses most EU countries, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania.
Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area and already applying the Schengen acquis to a large extent. Additionally, also the non-EU States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have joined the Schengen Area.
Everyone has the right of free movement within the Schengen area. The purpose of the Schengen area is to provide for protection of the individuals and their property by decreasing the possibilities for abuse of this right. This includes enhanced and effective co-operation between police, customs, judicial and external border control authorities of all member states, which is necessary because of the abolition of internal borders.