Celebrating 30 years of Schengen
(CS/dv) The town of Schengen in the south of Luxembourg on Saturday marked 30 years since the Schengen agreement was signed by European leaders on the Moselle river, bringing down the borders between EU member states.
The town counts only some 600 residents, but the name Schengen has become known around the world as a symbol for open borders in Europe.
Signed on June 14, 1985, between the governments of Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France on a boat on the Moselle river, the Schengen agreement now counts 21 signatories from within the EU and four additional countries, including Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
“Maybe Schengen is a small place, but it is a big idea,” said president of the EU Parliament Martin Schulz at the celebration on Saturday. Schulz had travelled to Luxembourg together with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to mark the anniversary.
Juncker on the other hand commented that restoring the borders, even if just for six months, might make more people aware of how important this achievements of the union continues to be.
While the borders within the EU have largely been eliminated by the Schengen agreement, the event also served to point out that around the bloc there is nonetheless a border that thousands of migrants are trying to cross.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel thus called on Europe's leaders to show the same kind of spirit of solidarity and courage, which the first signatories of the Schengen agreement had shown, to tackle the EU's current crises.
To mark the 30th anniversary, eleven new bronze stars were unveiled at a statue dedicated to the Schengen agreement to acknowledge the latest signatories since the sculpture was last brought up-to-date.
The event also coincided with the Fête de la Musique, which sees free concerts hosted by local music groups throughout the weekend.