For Schengen without Border Checks
On 21st December 2007 border retainers were cut with great ceremony, and the biggest-ever enlargement of the Schengen area - encompassing the Czech Republic and eight more Central and Eastern European countries – was celebrated. Celebrations were held in the spirit of a definitive termination of the division separating Europe’s West and East.
Schengen was highlighted as an area of free movement of persons within which people can cross borders without being stopped and/or checked. Not only Czech nationals, who well remembered the barbed wire divides of earlier years, were pleased that another European barrier had fallen.
Experience gained by many citizens has shown that former border controls, which essentially incorporated little more than quick checks of travel documents, have been replaced in some countries by frequent and thorough checks carried out several kilometres behind the border.
As indicated in observations carried out since 2008, a significant political aim was to maintain original capacities of border authorities of Germany and Austria within the conditions of abolished checks within the area along the former external Schengen border. This concept was supported by the guidance known as “veil investigation” which combines border checks with police control operations, complemented by activities carried out by customs authorities and state (Länder) police forces. This methodology opens up a wide space for carrying out checks the range of which was, in the time of previous border checks, inconceivable.
Although it is possible to seek and partially also find support in national law or Schengen legislation, the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic perceived deteriorated and undignified conditions for travelling across the European Union after the Czech Republic´s accession in the Schengen area. The Ministry therefore started in 2009 an initiative which encourages thorough respect for the spirit of the Schengen along the whole length of the internal Schengen border.
In their reactions the vast majority of Czech nationals do not agree with such checks which have subsequently replaced original border checks, which can be carried out elsewhere and whenever and do not require any suspicion that a specific legal regulation has been violated. Czech nationals also disagree with the manner of thorough border checks carried in the border zone of Germany and Austria. In addition, complaints entail questions concerning competences and behaviour of intervening bodies, and point out that checked people are not properly instructed or are unfamiliar with the procedure when they want to exercise their rights.
“For Schengen without Any Border Checks” is a symbol of a campaign launched in the fall 2009 striving for full respect of the rules of free movement, and the termination of unjustified intrusion upon citizens. On these web pages you will find detailed information on rules of checks carried out in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic including all related rights.