EU hails 31st anniversary of Schengen Agreement

EU Commissioner for Migration and, Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos
EU Commissioner for Migration and, Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos

BRUSSELS, June 14 (KUNA) — The EU praised Tuesday the passport-free-travel Schengen zone agreement and stressed its commitment to safeguarding a Europe without internal border controls.
“Schengen is one of the most cherished achievements of European integration. On today’s anniversary, we are reminded of the daily importance and benefits of the Schengen Area without internal borders for both European citizens and businesses,” said EU Commissioner for Migration and, Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos in a statement to mark the 31st anniversary of Schengen.
The Agreement was signed in the town of Schengen in Luxembourg on 14 June 1985 and marked the start of the process that abolished internal border controls between EU Member States. The original signatories of the Schengen Agreement were Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Today 26 European countries are members of the Schengen area.
Avramopoulos noted that in recent months, Schengen has been severely tested by the migration crisis which exposed certain deficiencies at EU external borders, resulting in the introduction of temporary internal border controls by a few Schengen countries.
He warned that the re-establishment of border controls within the Schengen Area would generate an immediate loss for the EU economy of between 5 and 18 billion euro annually. “Our aim is to return to the normal functioning of the Schengen Area and the lifting of all internal border controls related to the migratory crisis by the end of 2016 at the latest,” he added. (end) nk.nfm