FrP Discusses Schengen and EEA Agreement

After Senter Party’s proposal to opt out of Schengen agreement, FrP joins the discussion of Norway’s place in European agreements. There are different opinions about the EU, EEA and Schengen in FRP, reports ANB. However, it is unlikely that the party will propose to take Norway out of the EEA and the Schengen agreement, on the contrary to what a minority in the party’s national executive committee has proposed before. But the party will go for partial renegotiation of contracts, writes Norwegian daily Nationen.

– We’re not talking about changing the EEA Agreement or the Schengen agreement, but if some of the conditions are counterproductive for Norway, it is possible to renegotiate and tighten, says Sandberg.

He says that it is principally about to stop refugees and free movement of criminals.

– To stop uncontrolled incoming of refugees and the free flow of criminals are of great interest for FRP. Therefore, the topic will be addressed in our national congress, says Sandberg.

In an article on Monday, Progress Party leader Siv Jensen had wrote that the party is a supporter of the EEA Agreement.

Read alsoAnti-Schengen Block is Expanding in Norway

About the Schengen Cooperation

The Schengen area and cooperation are founded on the Schengen Agreement of 1985. The Schengen area represents a territory where the free movement of persons is guaranteed. The signatory states to the agreement have abolished all internal borders in lieu of a single external border. Here common rules and procedures are applied with regard to visas for short stays, asylum requests and border controls. Simultaneously, to guarantee security within the Schengen area, cooperation and coordination between police services and judicial authorities have been stepped up. Schengen cooperation has been incorporated into the European Union (EU) legal framework by the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997. However, all countries cooperating in Schengen are not parties to the Schengen area. This is either because they do not wish to eliminate border controls or because they do not yet fulfil the required conditions for the application of the Schengen acquis.

During the 1980s, a debate began over the meaning of free movement of persons. Some Member States felt the concept should apply to European Union (EU) citizens only, which would involve keeping internal border checks in order to distinguish between citizens of the EU and non-EU nationals. Others argued in favour of free movement for everyone, which would mean an end to internal border checks altogether. Since Member States could not reach agreement, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands decided in 1985 to create a territory without internal borders. This became known as the “Schengen area”, after the town in Luxembourg where the first agreements were signed. Following the signing of the Treaty of Amsterdam, this intergovernmental cooperation was incorporated into the EU framework on 1 May 1999.

The first agreement between the five original group members was signed on 14 June 1985. A further convention was drafted and signed on 19 June 1990. When it took effect in 1995, it abolished checks at the internal borders of the signatory states and created a single external border where immigration checks for the Schengen area are carried out in accordance with identical procedures. Common rules regarding visas, right of asylum and checks at external borders were adopted to allow the free movement of persons within the signatory states without disrupting law and order.

The Schengen area gradually expanded to include nearly every Member State. Italy signed the agreements on 27 November 1990, Spain and Portugal joined on 25 June 1991, Greece followed on 6 November 1992, then Austria on 28 April 1995 and Denmark, Finland and Sweden on 19 December 1996. The Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia joined on 21 December 2007 and the associated country Switzerland on 12 December 2008. Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania are not yet fully-fledged members of the Schengen area; border controls between them and the Schengen area are maintained until the EU Council decides that the conditions for abolishing internal border controls have been met. 

In addition to EU member states and four non-EU member states – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – participate in the Schengen Area while three European microstates – Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican – can be considered as de facto part of the Schengen Area as they do not have border controls with the Schengen countries which surround them. The area currently covers a population of over 400 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometres (1,664,911 sq mi).

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