Europe's Disappearing Internal Borders
In advance of the December 2007 expansion of the Schengen Area to include nine additional EU Member States—the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia—this Fact Sheet report highlights the key elements of Europe’s borderless zone. It outlines the common rules and policies of Schengen Member States that have abolished controls at internal borders, the regulations for EU and third-country nationals who wish to enter and reside in the Schengen Area, and the function and mechanism of the “Schengen visa.”
It also touches on the circumstances in which Schengen Member States can temporarily reinstate internal border controls, as well as the grounds for postponing new Member States’ plans to lift controls at their internal borders. In addition, the report provides information on the technical initiatives of the Schengen acquis—the Schengen Information System, which allows Member States to share “alerts on certain categories of people or objects crossing their external borders; and the Visa Information System, which stores the identity information of third-country nationals from non visa-waiver countries that apply for Schengen visas.