Schengen area

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Short view to the history

 

From the first discussion on creation of community of countries with opened borders and free movement of goods and services, thus from 9 may 1950 when French minister of foreign affairs Mr Robert Schuman had presented an idea to create the European Coal and Steel Community the main objective was to achieve the free movement of goods, services, people and capital. The full free movement of goods and services has been achieved on 1st January 1993 when a single market has been created. This day the Maastricht Convention has entered into force and this convention has established single common framework for all three communities (Coal and Steel Community, Economic Community and Community for Atomic Energy) and it has introduced three pillars division of the European Union (1st pillar for European Communities, 2nd pillar for Common Foreign and Security Policy and 3rd pillar for Justice and Home Affaires).


The basis for free movement of persons, so abolition of controls at border crossing points, is so called Schengen agreement and Schengen Implementing Convention. Its predecessor is Saarbrucken agreement of 1984 on simplification of controls at borders concluded as a consequence of strike actions of international track transporters due to time-consuming controls at the borders. France and Germany have concluded by this agreement free movement of European Community citizens. At the end of 1984, the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherland and Luxembourg) have acceded to the agreement and all countries have commonly elaborated the Agreement on gradual abolition of check at their common borders. The five founding countries signed an agreement on abolition of controls at common borders 14 June 1985 at village Schengen, which lies in the south-eastern Luxembourg, near the border with Germany and France. The implementing convention to the Schengen Agreement was signed on 19 June 1990.


Present

 

At present, the Schengen area composes 22 countries of the European Union (except Bulgary, Cyprus, Romania, Ireland and United Kingdom) and three countries of European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland and Switzerland). For Romania and Bulgaria as well as for all new countries of the candidate countries the entering to the Schengen are is an obligation according to the Amsterdam agreement (1999), by which all new Member State of the European Union without exception has to fulfil all conditions resulting from regulations of the Schengen agreement. Cyprus has asked to postpone its entering due to its complicated north border with Turkish part of the island and there is a free movement of persons with Switzerland but the customs control is performed further. By the way, the customs controls relate to the Customs Union and not to Schengen area.  


Given that we live in information society, the existence of Schengen Information System (SIS) of the Agreement on Schengen area is fully logic. The principal aim of the SIS is to search for persons (wanted, missing, unwanted and prosecuted) and things (ex. cars, vehicle registration numbers, travel or personal identity documents, documents of vehicles, banknotes, arms, etc.). The police forces of all contracting parties are using the SIS. The information put into the SIS appears to 120 seconds by what the SIS significantly contributes to effective justice and police cooperation, fight against organise criminality and terrorism or regulation of asylum policy. However, the initial SIS does not fit the current requests (evidence of biometrics data, photos of wanted persons, etc.) therefor the bodies of the European Union work on the SIS second generation.  


Task of the Office

 

The task of the Office for Personal Data Protection of the Slovak Republic (Office) in this area is to carry out the supervision of compliance with legislation focused on personal data protection and the rights of data subjects. For this reason the Office performs control activities at the national level and participates on work of various working groups established in Slovak Republic or in the European Union (ex. JSB Europol, JSA Schengen etc.).


In this place the Office would like to provide you with comprehensive information on obligation of entities processing information in SIS as well as on rights of data subjects and ways how to meet these rights.


For more information see web site of the European Union.

 

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