Switzerland Joins the Schengen Agreement

The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed in 1985, on the river-boat "Princess Marie-Astrid" anchored in Schengen, Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Community: Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany.

The Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement supplemented it 5 years later, providing for the removal of systematic border controls between the participating countries.

The Amsterdam Treaty of 1997 incorporated the Schengen Agreements into the mainstream of European Union law. The borderless zone created by the Schengen Agreements, the Schengen Area, currently consists of 25 European countries. Ireland and the United Kingdom opted out of Schengen's border control arrangements, while participating in certain provisions relating to judicial and police cooperation.

The Swiss Confederation has a long history of neutrality—it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815—and was one of the last countries to join the United Nations. Switzerland is home to many international organisations, including the World Economic Forum, the International Olympic Committee, the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization and the second largest UN office. On the European level it was a founder of the European Free Trade Association and is part of the Schengen Agreement.