What is the Schengen area?

Aimed at a younger audience, the ‘Truth or Hoax’ channel deciphers information with a critical eye. Children and teenagers can submit questions or requests for explanations – the ‘1 day, 1 question’ series answers them.

What is the Schengen area? It is first and foremost an area of free movement, where borders have been eliminated. You don’t need a passport to travel between the different countries that make up the Schengen area, unlike the rest of the world. This freedom was made possible by an agreement between several European countries on 14 June 1985 in the city of Schengen (obviously), in Luxembourg.

In addition to facilitating travel, this agreement also makes it easier to buy and sell goods between the European countries in the area, and also helps to reinforce the notion of belonging to a single territory.

26 countries make up the Schengen area: all the European countries (except Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom) as well as 4 non-EU countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

In all, 400 million people can travel freely in Europe. Today, the issue of borders is back in the spotlight: migratory crises are causing some intra-EU borders to be closed. If this measure is allowed in case of risk to the order and security of a country, it can only be exceptional or temporary (two months maximum) – such is the rule.

This video from 2016 does not take into account the Covid-19 health crisis, but it shows how the closure of borders between countries during 2020 and 2021 is an unprecedented situation.

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