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Conditions for Accession to the Schengen Area

In terms of the Protocol on Schengen acquis incorporated into the EU framework, the so-called Schengen Protocol, states which have declared their intention to join the EU have to adopt the Schengen acquis.

This fact has also been incorporated in the accession procedures of new member states which joined the EU community on 1st May 2004, based on the Treaty of Accession. The commitment to adopt the Schengen acquis is stated in the Article 3 of the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic and the adjustments to the Treaties, the European Union is founded on (hereinafter referred to as the "Act on Accession of 2003"), and the Article 3 of the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Rumania and the adjustments to the Treaties, the European Union is founded on (hereinafter referred to as the "Act on Accession of 2005").

In terms of the wording of the Article 3 of the Act on Accession of 2003, new EU member states could not automatically abolish checks on their internal borders, join the Schengen Information System and issue common Schengen visas on the day they joined the EU. They started applying the Schengen acquis only in a limited extent, and for this purpose the Schengen acquis was divided into two categories for newly accessing countries.

In terms of the Article 3 (1) of the Act on Accession of 2003, new member states had to start applying the first category of the Schengen acquis on the day when they joined the European Union and it is stated in the Annex I of the Act on Accession of 2003 called the "List of provisions of the Schengen acquis as integrated into the framework of the European Union and the acts arising from it or otherwise related to it, to be binding on and applicable in the new Member States as from accession.“

New member states started to apply the Schengen acquis related to abolishing internal border checks and the common visa policy in line with the Article 3 (2) of the Act on Accession only after a decision of the Council of the European Union made, following positive Schengen evaluations related to a correct and full application of the Schengen acquis and in all areas concerned (land, air and sea borders, police cooperation, data protection, visa and the Schengen Information System/SIRENE). The Council of the European Union made this decision only after a consultation with the European Parliament.

The Schengen acquis in its full extent is applied by the following member states of the European Union: Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Italy, Span, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia and on the basis of a special treaty with the EU it is also applied by non-member states of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Ireland, the Great Britain and Cyprus are Member States which cooperate with the Schengen states only in specific aspects and have not fully implemented the Schengen acquis up to now. Current candidate states for joining the Schengen Area are Bulgaria and Romania.

 

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