Thirty years ago it was signed, and 20 years ago today it went into effect: The European agreement that wiped out land borders for travelers throughout most of Europe, and also had the side effect of making a tiny town in Luxembourg into a world...
I don't share the nostalgia for border crossings, having experienced some of the worst crossings in the world in the late 80's And while Schengen said it wiped out land borders for travelers throughout most of Europe, I've still experienced controls in those countries . On one such occasion ,I took a bus from Brussels to Paris and the bus was stopped twice in France. ID was checked and people questioned. Even bags were inspected for people from Romania and Bulgaria.
Interesting, given the history of prejudice against Romany, that those countries were singled out. At the time they were not yet Schengen members, either, although they are now in the process of joining, leaving only Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and UK out among EU members. The non-EU members of Schengen are Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
From a historic perspective, I think it's still a little early to know if this was all good for Europe or not. The border crossings are definitely easier and faster, and I, too, miss the passport stamps no longer on my pages. For me the greatest convenience is the common currency -- not having to change money so often, usually at a loss. Of course, some would argue that the Euro is the greatest weakness of the EU (will it survive?), so I'm not sure in the long run how this will all play out.
Another part of the agreement is of interest to US travelers. We can only spend 90 days in the Schengen country for every 180 day period,without having to contend with Visas . I haven't heard too much about the consequences of overstaying the 90 days ,until I saw this comment online about getting a $500 fine for overstaying. http://www.latimes.com/travel/...-20150405-story.html More info on the 90/180 day rule http://www.latimes.com/travel/...20150329-story.html#
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