The Czech Republic in the Schengen area

On 21 December 2007, the Czech Republic joined the Schengen area. Border checks at the land borders were abolished at midnight from 20 to 21 December 2007. At the international airports, border checks on intra-Schengen flights came to an end on 30 March 2008. Since 21 December 2007, the Czech Republic has been fully participating in the Schengen cooperation, thus being a member of a group of countries which carry out no border checks at their common borders and which have brought their efforts to fulfill the right of free movement of persons to a successful end. The 2007 Schengen enlargement can be seen as a symbolic end to the imaginary division of Europe into the \“West\“ and the \“East\“ and it means that people are allowed to cross land borders without the obligation to present an identity document at former border-crossing points. What does the fact that the Czech Republic is a Member State of the Schengen area mean in practice? The abolition of border checks at land borders and the possibility to cross the former border crossing points without a stop was the most visible, yet not the only change arising from the integration of the Czech Republic in the Schengen area. The abolition of border checks at internal borders was accompanied by various compensatory measures involving extensive cooperation of all Member States applying provisions of the Schengen acquis (Schengen states/countries) in many aspects, such as setting a common visa regime, improving coordination between the police, customs and the judiciary and taking additional steps to combat problems such as terrorism and organized crime.