In the Beginning was Freedom of Movement
In the 1980s, the European Community (at that time it was not yet a "Union") found itself in crisis. Europe-wide, there was a rapid dwindling of the population’s approval of European unification, while the integration simultaneously stagnated. This attitude also caused economic loss in the EC States. Paolo Cecchini, then a member of the Commission, calculated these losses in his report on "the costs of Non-Europe". He listed the economic damages of the EC that were emerging as a result of each national state continuing to work within its own economic system. Altogether, Cecchini estimated the costs to be 4.3 to 6.4 percent of the gross domestic product of the EC Member States. Businesses incurred approximately 8 billion Ecu
In order to drive European integration further, the then German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, and the then French president, François Mitterrand, decided to complete the existing economic integration through a political component and tackle the "Europe of citizens". Three of the four fundamental freedoms of the internal market (free movement of goods, capital, and services) were already in practice; but an important freedom, the free movement of EU citizens, had not at that point moved past lip service. So in Saarbrücken in 1984, Kohl and Mitterrand decided to abolish passport controls on the German-French borders and to enable the free movement of persons between their countries.
Convinced by the significance of this step, the Benelux States (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg), who had already abolished passport controls between their countries in 1960, indicated their desire to join Germany and France. A year later, in 1985, they signed the well-known "Schengen Agreement" in the small village of Schengen in Luxemburg. In this agreement, the five states agreed to stop passport controls at their common borders. The signatory states of this agreement have been since called the “Schengen states” and over time, the number of Schengen states has increased.
Schengen States 2014
Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland (non-EU member), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein (non-EU member), Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway (non-EU member), Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (non-EU member)
Freedom of Movement, Only with More Security
No sooner had Kohl and Mitterrand’s decision become known, than the Ministers of the Interior from both countries and their subordinate agencies raised security concerns. They were afraid a security deficit would occur if the police were to stop passport controlling on the German-French border. Every criminal would be able to cross the border with no difficulty. Against this backdrop, the German Minister of the Interior, Friedrich Zimmermann, stressed in 1986:
"I am in agreement with the interior ministers of the EC states and with my colleagues in the federal states that in the interests of security for our citizens, the second step may not be made before the first when it comes to the easing and removal of border controls. In view of the present threat, it is the opinion of all responsible ministers for internal security that the border controls must occasionally be made even stronger."
The interior ministers negotiated that the abolition of passport controls may not be implemented until sufficient measures were undertaken to compensate for the perceived security deficits.
For the implementation of the first Schengen Agreement, Germany, France and the Benelux States concluded the so-called Schengen Convention on 19 June 1990.
Although only intended to compensate for the freedom of movement within the Schengen area, the Schengen Convention marked the beginning of European immigration control policies, whose development cannot even today be regarded as complete. The core of these compensatory measures was and is, however, the Schengen Information System (SIS). In the Schengen Information System, all data (among other things) is stored for the search of persons, including captured migrants who entered the Schengen area illegally and can be accessed by all police stations Schengen-wide.
Schengen, EC or EU?
Because the European Community (EC) did not succeed in establishing its own passport union in the 1980s, Germany, France and the Benelux States withdrew and concluded an international treaty in Schengen in 1985. An associated implementation agreement (the Schengen Convention) followed in 1990.
Independent from Schengen, the European Community (EC) turned into the European Union (EU) in 1993.
In 1998, the Treaty of Amsterdam assumed the Schengen Agreement and all associated treaties under EU law. Nevertheless, the EU is not the same as Schengen. Some EU countries have not signed the Schengen Agreement (for example the United Kingdom and Ireland) while there are other countries which are Schengen members but do not belong to the EU (for example Norway, Iceland and Switzerland).
The Schengen Dialectic
In 1995, the decision makers of the Schengen signatory states
Two Tendencies: Externalization and Technologization
European border policies developed along two dimensions. Firstly, an externalization can be observed, that is the geographic and functional expansion of the surveilled border areas. Secondly, the "human" factor in the control and surveillance of the borders, that is, personnel controlling the borders, is increasingly complemented with modern technology. Both tendencies are analyzed in the following sections.