IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


16th February, 2024 International News


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Picture Courtesy: https://www.outlooktraveller.com/whats-new/schengen-visa-process-to-go-digital-heres-all-you-need-to-know

Context: Kosovo, a non-EU Western Balkan nation, has faced delays in obtaining visa-free access to the Schengen Zone, despite meeting preconditions related to illegal migration and corruption in 2018, which are prerequisites for Schengen entry.


  • In 2018, the European Commission cleared Kosovo's readiness to address issues such as illegal migration and corruption, which are prerequisites for Schengen entry.
  • Strong opposition from some EU member states, including those not recognizing Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia, posed a major obstacle.
  • Kosovo's lack of legal statehood, as not recognized by the UN, along with non-recognition by global powers like Russia and China, contributed to the delays.


  • The Schengen Zone, named after the small Luxembourg village where the agreement was signed in 1985, is the world's largest zone of free movement. It allows citizens of member countries to travel freely within the zone without border checks.
  • While Schengen entry is mandatory for EU members, not all EU nations are part of the Schengen Zone. Some EU countries, including Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, and Ireland, are not part of Schengen.
  • The Schengen Zone comprises 27 countries, including four non-EU members: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Norway.

Internal Functioning

  • Schengen Borders: Internal borders between member states are designated as "open borders," meaning no routine checks occur for passport holders of member countries. However, random or targeted checks remain possible for security reasons.
  • Police Cooperation: The Schengen Agreement facilitates close police cooperation across member states, including cross-border pursuits, information sharing, and joint operations.
  • Schengen Information System (SIS): This centralized database stores information on individuals subject to entry bans or specific security measures, enabling coordinated border management and law enforcement collaboration.
  • Schengen Evaluation Mechanism: This mechanism ensures compliance with Schengen rules by all members through regular assessments and peer reviews.

External Border Management

  • Common Visa Policy: Schengen countries issue standardized visas with common validity periods and conditions, ensuring consistency in entry procedures.
  • Integrated Border Management Systems: These systems combine various technologies and information sources to enhance border security and control, including biometric checks and electronic travel authorization systems.
  • Frontex: This EU agency plays a crucial role in coordinating border management activities at external Schengen borders, providing technical assistance and operational support to member states.
  • Schengen Evaluation Mechanism: It also assesses the effectiveness of external border controls and identifies areas for improvement.

Impact and Significance

  • Economic Benefits: The Schengen Zone has spurred economic growth by facilitating trade, investment, and tourism within the region. It allows businesses to operate more efficiently across borders and simplifies travel for tourists, boosting economic activity.
  • Social and Cultural Integration: Free movement fostered by Schengen has enabled closer social and cultural ties among member states. People can easily travel, work, study, and live in different countries, enriching cultural exchange and understanding.
  • Challenges and Debates: While Schengen offers significant benefits, it also faces challenges, including security concerns, irregular migration, and potential discrepancies in border management practices. Debates ongoing within the EU focus on balancing free movement with security, strengthening external border controls, and ensuring fair burden-sharing among member states.


●Kosovo is a partially recognized state in southeastern Europe. It declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but its sovereignty is not recognized by all countries, including Serbia itself.

●Kosovo is a landlocked country bordered by Serbia to the north and east, North Macedonia to the southeast, Albania to the southwest, and Montenegro to the northwest. The landscape is mostly mountainous, with the highest point being Gjeravica at 2,656 meters. The climate is continental, with hot summers and cold winters.

●The economy of Kosovo is based on agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. The main agricultural products are wheat, maize, potatoes, and fruits. The main mineral resources are coal, lead, zinc, and nickel. The main manufactured goods are textiles, food products, and furniture.

Must Read Articles:

SCHENGEN VISA: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/schengen-visa#:~:text=A%20Schengen%20visa%20is%20an,identity%20checks%20at%20the%20border.


Q. What is the main benefit of the Schengen Zone for citizens of member states?

A) Cheaper flights within the zone

B) Access to exclusive tourist destinations

C) Freedom of movement without passport checks at internal borders

D) Reduced visa fees for travel outside the zone

Answer: C


The most significant advantage of Schengen is the ability to travel freely within the zone without the hassle of border checks. This facilitates easier travel, business activity, and social connections. While other options might offer specific benefits, they aren't core aspects of the zone. So, the answer is (C).