The Schengen Agreement - can someone explain it to the news media?


(Mark Rimmer) #1

Watching the ITN news this evening the leading story was about various countries such as Slovenia reinforcing their borders to restrict the free flow of migrants from the Middle East. This was touted as an end to the Schengen agreement. I fail to understand!


The EUR-Lex web site defines Schengen as follows:-


"The Schengen area and cooperation are founded on the Schengen Agreement of 1985. The Schengen area represents a territory where the free movement of persons is guaranteed. The signatory states to the agreement have abolished all internal borders in lieu of a single external border. Here common rules and procedures are applied with regard to visas for short stays, asylum requests and border controls. Simultaneously, to guarantee security within the Schengen area, cooperation and coordination between police services and judicial authorities have been stepped up. Schengen cooperation has been incorporated into the European Union (EU) legal framework by the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997. However, all countries cooperating in Schengen are not parties to the Schengen area. This is either because they do not wish to eliminate border controls or because they do not yet fulfil the required conditions for the application of the Schengen acquis.


During the 1980s, a debate began over the meaning of free movement of persons. Some Member States felt the concept should apply to European Union (EU) citizens only, which would involve keeping internal border checks in order to distinguish between citizens of the EU and non-EU nationals. Others argued in favour of free movement for everyone, which would mean an end to internal border checks altogether. Since Member States could not reach agreement, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands decided in 1985 to create a territory without internal borders. This became known as the "Schengen area", after the town in Luxembourg where the first agreements were signed. Following the signing of the Treaty of Amsterdam, this intergovernmental cooperation was incorporated into the EU framework on 1 May 1999."


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it does state "abolished all internal borders in lieu of a single external border". This, to me, means that one can travel freely within the defined area as opposed to being able to travel freely from wherever one happens to be to anywhere else in the world. The border between Slovenia & Croatia would therefore be part of the external border, over which no such freedom of movement is usually allowed.


EUR-Lex goes on "Common rules regarding visas, right of asylum and checks at external borders were adopted to allow the free movement of persons within the signatory states without disrupting law and order." These, on humanitarian grounds, have been waived in many instances but these concessions have led to a worsening of the migrant crisis & citizens of many countries are saying "enough!"


The Schengen agreement allows the free movement of EU citizens within the confines of the EU. It does not allow for the free movement of immigrants who have no status as yet. Once they have been accepted into the EU in accordance with the "common rules" THEN these people would be allowed free movement. They HAVE to have been accepted first! That takes time.


I cannot see that controlling the external borders of the Shengen countries will result in the collapse of the agreement! What do these stupid, scare mongering reporters think "The signatory states to the agreement have abolished all internal borders in lieu of a single external border. Here common rules and procedures are applied with regard to visas for short stays, asylum requests and border controls" actually means???



(Theo Fruendt) #2

The media follow their completely more selfish agenda: sex it up and sell... Journalists are not writing for the truth, that are writing for their own survival. Actually the name of this professional discipline at the faculties has been renamed: "Twaddology" because it easier to bring thing in context when the whip of political correctness is threatening.

Fear sells! Governments love this as well. And that's why UK knows why its not part of the Schengen. Its so simple. No rocket science. Brian, and this is why its impossible to explain it to media.


(Brian Milne) #3

With you Mark. I used to fly. A private pilot flying inside a country was required to have passport or ID card by many countries, certainly a foreign flyer inside any country was obliged to. The reasons were clear, despite controls such as radar dodgy things could be done, well why else would a lot of 'smug drugglers' of the 'business man/woman' grade have pilots' licences? A parachutist could be a switch as well. Now, I am using the examples here to illustrate that there is need for controls inside borders as well as free movement, neither contradicting the other. The external borders of the Schengen Area represent those borders that were once typical of those around nations that now have free movement, so they are nothing new. Cross border movement is open within Schengen for citizens and inhabitants of member states, people from outside are theoretically subject to the same controls as previous but the likes of the Slovenian border, if they were perpetually open and the lack of controls within the Schengen Area would potentially invite many more people than we are seeing at present with refugees. However, wherever we are we are still subject to any controls authorities deem necessary which includes within the countries we are from or in which we live. That all seems reasonable enough.

Then, as Krister points out, we have 'Dublin' and that is being abused grossly by even the most informed media in how they present it. It is lamentable that the agreed freedoms that are potentially one of the strongest elements of an historically peaceful Europe are misrepresented. By representing the Schengen freedom of movement principles, the UK media are misrepresenting the views of probably most Europeans within the area. It is as if they are fortifying the island mentality Europhiles harbour to help justify ever argument for leaving the EU. If the UK leaves I think they will eventually become very 'lonely' whereas Europe will go on much as it is at present without them. That, I find, is myopic but get the media to understand that.


(Krister Rosendahl) #4

Too often it seems that "News Media" cannot be bothered with facts. Another thing they forget is the Dublin Regulation:

The Dublin Regulation (Regulation No. 604/2013; sometimes the Dublin III Regulation; previously the Dublin II Regulation and Dublin Convention) is a European Union (EU) law that determines the EU Member State responsible to examine an application for asylum seekers seeking international protection under the Geneva Convention and the EU Qualification Directive, within the European Union. It is the cornerstone of the Dublin System, which consists of the Dublin Regulation and the EURODAC Regulation, which establishes a Europe-wide fingerprinting database for unauthorised entrants to the EU. The Dublin Regulation aims to “determine rapidly the Member State responsible [for an asylum claim]”[1] and provides for the transfer of an asylum seeker to that Member State. Usually, the responsible Member State will be the state through which the asylum seeker first entered the EU.

Even the EU member countries don't really respect this one anymore (see last sentence above).