Switzerland to join the Schengen Agreement

Switzerland becomes the 25th European country to join the Schengen Agreement, whereby cross-border passport checks will be abolished.

The term Schengen Agreement is used for two agreements included among European states in 1985 and 1990 which deal with the abolition of systematic border controls among the participating countries.

By the Treaty of Amsterdam, the two agreements themselves and all decisions that have been enacted on their basis have been incorporated into the law of the European Union. This body of legal provisions is referred to as the Schengen Acquis.

Subsequent amendments to the acquis, including the Schengen Agreements themselves, have been made in the form of European Union regulations. The main purpose of the establishment of the Schengen rules is the abolition of physical borders among European countries.

The Schengen rules apply to most European countries, covering a population of over 400 million and a total area of 4,268,633 km2 (1,648,128 sq mi).

The rules include provisions on common policy on the temporary entry of persons (including the Schengen Visa), the harmonisation of external border controls, which are coordinated by the Frontex agency of the European Union, and cross-border police and judicial co-operation. A total of 25 states, 22 from the European Union states and 3 non-EU members (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) have implemented its provisions so far.

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