Thursday

23rd May 2019

Switzerland joins Schengen

While Ireland, the UK and the ten new EU members remain outside the passport-free Schengen zone, Switzerland yesterday (26 October) signed up to join.

Switzerland will be the third non-EU country to join Schengen. Iceland and Norway are already members.

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  • Free movement of persons (Photo: European Commission)

The name "Schengen" originates from a small town in Luxembourg where seven European Union countries signed a treaty, in June 1985, to end internal border checkpoints and controls.

Switzerland signed a total of nine agreements with the European Union at the ceremony in Luxembourg, including an important deal on savings tax.

The deal secures the EU's 25 member states access to untaxed cash deposited in Swiss banks by sharing bank details, or by Switzerland withholding a 35 percent tax on savings income and transferring 75% of the revenue of this tax to the investor's state of residence - allowing the Swiss to maintain banking secrecy.

The Swiss President Joseph Deiss and foreign minister Micheline Calmy-Rey attended the ceremony in Luxembourg.

They also signed up to the system for the comparison of fingerprints of asylum applicants and illegal immigrants, known as 'Eurodac' and to the Dublin Convention making it possible to determine the State responsible for examining the asylum applications.

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