What is Schengen?
The Schengen Agreement, which provides for the lifting of internal borders, common rules relating to external borders as well as rules relating to visa and police cooperation, was originally signed on 14th June 1985 by five states, namely Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and The Netherlands, aboard the ship ‘Princess Marie-Astrid’ on the Moselle River, near Schengen, a small town in Luxembourg bordering France to the west and Germany to the east. This was a very appropriate location for the signature of the Agreement, as in those days the townspeople would have had to go through passport control and monetary exchange whenever crossing to neighbouring towns in France and Germany.
A Convention was agreed upon in 1990 with a view to applying the provisions of the Agreement. The first states to effectively implement Schengen provisions were Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain on 26th March 1995.
Malta joined the Schengen area on 21st December 2007. The Maltese have acquired new rights and benefits as a result of Malta’s accession into the Schengen area.