Governance of the Schengen Area aims to find the balance between freedom of movement and the need for security, in the context of increasing globalisation. Within the European integration process, freedom of movement started with workers, as part of the establishment of a common market.
Initially intergovernmental, involving five States, the Schengen foundations were incorporated into EU law with the Amsterdam Treaty. The Schengen Area has also gradually expanded to include the territory of 22 EU and four non-EU Member States.
The Schengen acquis has developed into a body of laws aimed at furthering cooperation, and with a special autonomous status. At operational level, important cooperation tools have been developed: the shared database of the Schengen Information System, the Frontex Agency and solidarity through the assistance of Rabit rapid intervention teams.
Since the Lisbon Treaty, the multi-layered legal framework has made the reform of Schengen governance arrangements necessary. The ongoing debate has underlined the different constitutional approaches of the EU institutions.