World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Achieving The EU Goal Of Free Movement Of Persons


Enlargement of the Schengen area: achieving the European goal of free movement of persons

As of 21st December 2007, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia will become part of the Schengen area. Controls at internal land and sea borders between these countries and the current 15 member states will be lifted. This will result in a very tangible expression of the free movement ideal: this latest enlargement extends the free movement area by 4,278 km.

Commission President José Manuel Barroso said "As from today people can travel hassle-free between 24 countries of the Schengen area without internal land and sea border controls- from Portugal to Poland and from Greece to Finland. I wish to congratulate the nine new Schengen members, the Portuguese presidency and all EU Member States for their efforts. Together we have overcome border controls as man-made obstacles to peace, freedom and unity in Europe, while creating the conditions for increased security".

Vice-President, Franco Frattini, Commissioner responsible for Freedom, Justice, and Security declared: "An area of 24 countries without internal borders is a unique and historical achievement. I feel very proud and privileged to have been involved in making it happen. Joining the Schengen space is not an easy undertaking. I give enormous credit to these Member States. All the new member countries, who have put in place significant, state of the art border security systems. Indeed, the extension of Schengen demonstrates the EU's commitment to facilitating legitimate travelling within and into the EU whilst at the same time reinforcing the security of our external borders and thereby strengthening the safety of all EU citizens ".



Following enlargement, all citizens of the enlarged Schengen space will benefit from quicker and easier travelling. From 21 December onwards, a citizen can travel from the Iberian Peninsula to the Baltic States and from Greece to Finland without border checks. This is symbolic of a united Europe and underlines the basic right of European citizens to move freely.

It will be easier for families, relatives and friends living on different sides of a border to visit each other. Eternal queues at (busy) border crossing points will no longer exist. Border regions will develop together as it will be easier to travel from one region to the other. An increase in tourism is expected, with a positive impact on infrastructure. Evidence of previous enlargements effectively demonstrates this: for instance, at the Salzburg/Berchtesgaden border citizens take advantage of infrastructure on each side of the border, including a large commercial centre at the Austrian side of the border, and a large health and fitness centre on the German side.

Lifting internal border control is also a question of trust between the Member States. It is through a rigorous peer evaluation process that Member States have ensured each member state is equipped to guard the external borders on behalf of all other members and issue visas valid for the whole Schengen area. The new Member States have worked tirelessly to improve, their handling of external border controls, visa policy, data protection and police cooperation.

Their connection to the Schengen Information System - which shares information on wanted and missing people, those refused entry, and lost and stolen property - was assured before membership could be agreed. Justice and Home Affairs Ministers concluded, in November, that the Schengen acquis criteria had been met by all candidate countries. This would not have been possible without financial solidarity. The Schengen Facility, which provided nearly one billion Euro, has enabled the new Member countries to meet, in particular, the challenge of building up efficient border controls and to become full partners in the Schengen area.

The checks on external borders remain the same as new Member States to the EU ha been applying the Schengen external border acquis since accession. The only difference will be that the new Member States will also check third country nationals in the Schengen Information System (SIS). Access to the SIS by police forces on both sides of the frontier will enhance and strengthen security at the borders.

For bona fide travellers, travels in an enlarged EU will be faster and easier. A third country national will be able to travel on the basis of one Schengen visa and will not need separate national visas.

ENDS

Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives | RSS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Anti-Corbyn Split In British Labour

The resignation of seven UK Labour MPs in protest against the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is another example of the centre-left’s readiness to sabotage its own cause ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why We Shouldn’t Support The US-Led Coup In Venezuela

There’s a decidedly retro feel to the US-engineered coup now unfolding in Venezuela, which looks like a throwback to the 1950s, back when the US could overthrow any country (Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954) that posed a problem (or presented an opportunity) for US corporate interests. More>>

ALSO:

The Gili Islands: A Community Earthquake Recovery Effort

Joseph Cederwall travelled to the Gili Islands in October 2018 to talk to locals about their experiences of the event and witness the impact and the rebuild efforts on this unique ecotourism destination. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Ongoing Carnage In Gaza

The past month has devoted a lot of space to the best music and films of 2018, and far less to the past year’s human rights violations. The under-reporting on the ongoing carnage in Gaza has been a case in point. More>>

ALSO:

New Report: Refugees In PNG Being Pushed To The Brink

Refugee Council of Australia and Amnesty International paint a stark picture of a traumatised refugee population hit hard by Australia's recent healthcare and counselling service cuts, as well as continued threats to their safety. More>>

ALSO: