#GS-02 International Relations
- Schengen Area denotes a zone where 27 European countries have abolished their national borders, for the free and unrestricted movement of people.
- The area is created based on the 1985 Schengen Agreement and the 1990 Schengen Convention, both pf which were signed in Schengen, Luxembourg.
- 23 of the 27 EU member states are part of the free movement region of Schengen Area.
- Of the rest, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania are legally obligated to join the area in the future while Ireland maintains an opt-out.
- Four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, though not members of the EU, have joined the Schengen Agreement.
- Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City have open borders with the region, but are not members of the visa-free zone.
- The Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands are special members of the EU and part of the Schengen Zone even though they are located outside the continental Europe.
- Croatia on Sunday (1st January 2023) became the latest country to join the Schengen Area.
- Schengen Area guarantees free movement to more than 400 million EU citizens, as well as to non-EU nationals such as businessmen, tourists or other persons legally present in the EU.
- This agreement has provisions which allows police to chase suspected criminals across borders and access a shared database of wanted people and stolen objects.
Member Countries of Schengen Area
- Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Source “Croatia adopts euro, enters borderless Europe club“