With France going into a state of emergency this past week, rumours were making rounds that the country had suspended the Schengen agreement and was to refuse travellers entry into its borders. But those rumours seem to have remained just rumours with officials denying any such claims and stating that while its borders remained open, although, tight security could be expected at border entry points and across the nation, which is essential for the security of visitors.
What is Schengen agreement?
The Schengen agreement signed in 1985, served to create a single European territory devoid of internal borders. When it came into force in 1995, the main effect of the agreement was that citizens of signatory states could travel across borders without passports. The agreement offers freedom of movement to some 400 million EU citizens, who can cross internal borders within the Schengen area freely and without need to carry a passport. Freedom of movement is a fundamental right of citizens according to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty.
Has France suspended the Schengen agreement?
France has announced that regardless of rumours, it will not cancel its Schengen visas. Despite the country still recuperating from the recent attacks, it has maintained its equanimity and allowed the entry of foreigners including Indians who were holding a valid Schengen visa.
According to Camille Conde of the French Embassy in Manila, there is no such announcement made by the government of France with regards to cancellation of the Schengen visas. The embassy did however warn that the inconveniences which visitors travelling to France may face are the reinforced controls at the borders implemented for security reasons.
Currently there is a nationwide state of emergency advisory in effect for France, with travellers being advised to exercise the highest degree of caution due to the current elevated threat of terrorism.