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May 1995, Volume 2, Number 5

Austria Joins Schengen

Austria on April 28 joined seven other EU member nations in border-free Europe. However, Austria's accession to the EU has not yet been approved by all of the EU's national parliaments.

Under the Schengen agreement that went into effect on March 26, 1995, cars can cross the national borders of France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg at slow speed, since all of the Schengen countries have agreed on a common visa for non-EU nationals.

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, which has only one terminal, has emerged as a place where illegal immigrants can slip into the EU. Intra-EU passengers receive smart cards that enable them to bypass passport controls, but many of the cards are tossed away by arriving passengers who go through immigration inspection, so that persons wanting to avoid passport controls can use them.

Germany's tougher controls on its eastern borders have led to long queues at Polish and Czech crossing points; Germany requires tourists from countries such as Bulgaria to have the equivalent of DM 50 per day to enter.


Bill Schiller, "Fear mounts as nations pull back the welcome mat," Toronto Star, April 16, 1995. Cherif Cordahi, "Political Strife Will spur European Migration," InterPress Service, April 18, 1995. "France's hardline Pasqua defends open EU borders," Reuters World Service, April 12, 1995. "Free-frontier system runs into trouble," The Daily Telegraph, April 13, 1995, 12.