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57 million crossings are due to transport of goods by road, with a value of €2.8 trillion each year. The Schengen Area was established separately from the European Economic Community, when consensus could not be reached among all EC member states on the abolition of border controls.

The Agreement was supplemented in 1990 by the Schengen Convention, which proposed the abolition of internal border controls and a common visa policy.

Although Cyprus, which joined the EU on , is legally bound to join the Schengen Area, implementation has been delayed because of the Cyprus dispute.According to former Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Lillikas, "strict and full control based on Schengen will create a huge tribulation on a daily basis for the Turkish Cypriots" of Northern Cyprus, and it is unclear if this control is possible before the resolution of the dispute.About 1.7 million people commute to work across a European border each day, and in some regions these people constitute up to a third of the workforce.Each year, there are 1.3 billion crossings of Schengen borders in total.There are territories of Schengen member states that are exempted from the Schengen Agreement.

Areas located outside Europe are not part of the Schengen Area.

Croatia requested that the EU conduct a technical evaluation, which took a year and a half, and started on 1 July 2015.

The influx of refugees and migrants from Greece through North Macedonia and Serbia to Croatia and then to current Schengen member states like Slovenia, Austria and Hungary, as part of the 2015 European migrant crisis, has led some to question whether there will be the political consensus necessary for further enlargement of the Schengen Area in this atmosphere.

A consequence of the Agreement being part of European law is that any amendment or regulation is made within its processes, in which the non-EU members are not participants.

The UK and Ireland have maintained a Common Travel Area (CTA) since 1923, but the UK could not accept abolishing border controls and was, therefore, granted a full opt-out from the area.

Three European microstates that are not members of the European Union but which are enclaves or semi-enclave within an EU member state—Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City—are de facto part of the Schengen Area.