The Schengen Agreement was signed in 1985 in the Luxembourg town of Schengen, and it led to the formation of the Schengen Area, which is a borderless area that includes 26 European countries. This agreement has been one of the most important developments in the European Union`s (EU) history, and it has had significant effects on the EU`s economy, politics, and society.
Here are some of the reasons why the Schengen Agreement is so important:
1. It facilitates the movement of people
One of the main benefits of the Schengen Area is that it allows people to move freely between member countries without going through border controls. This is particularly beneficial for businesses and travelers, who no longer have to deal with the hassle of customs and immigration checks each time they cross a border.
2. It boosts economic growth
The Schengen Agreement has also had a positive impact on the EU`s economy. By removing barriers to trade and travel, it has made it easier for businesses to operate in multiple countries and for consumers to access goods and services from across the EU. This has led to increased competition, innovation, and economic growth.
3. It promotes cultural exchange and understanding
The Schengen Area has also helped to promote cultural exchange and understanding between member countries. People can travel freely between countries, learn about different cultures, and build new friendships and business relationships. This has helped to break down barriers and foster a sense of European identity and unity.
4. It enhances security
Although the Schengen Agreement has sometimes been criticized for making it easier for criminals and terrorists to move across borders undetected, it has also had positive effects on security. By sharing information and resources, member countries can more effectively combat crime and terrorism. And because people can move more freely within the Schengen Area, it is easier for law enforcement agencies to track down suspects and prevent crimes before they occur.
Despite its many benefits, the Schengen Agreement is not without its challenges. The refugee crisis and the rise of right-wing nationalism in some member countries have put a strain on the agreement, and there is ongoing debate about how to balance the benefits of the agreement with concerns about security and immigration.
Overall, however, the Schengen Agreement has been a remarkable success story for the EU. It has facilitated the movement of people and goods, boosted economic growth, promoted cultural exchange and understanding, and enhanced security. As the EU continues to face new challenges in the years ahead, the Schengen Agreement will no doubt continue to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the continent.