Of the 27 EU Member States, 22 are participating in the Schengen area. Of the five EU Member States that are not part of the Schengen area, four – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania – are legally required to join the territory in the future, while the other – Ireland – maintains an opt-out. The four member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, are not members of the EU, but have signed under the Schengen Agreement. Three European micro-states that are not members of the European Union, but which are enclaves or half-enclaves within an EU member state – Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City – are de facto part of the Schengen area. After Slovakia, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Poland announced in mid-March the complete closure of their national borders, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that ”some controls may be justified, but the World Health Organization does not consider general travel bans to be the most effective. In addition, they have strong social and economic repercussions, disrupting people`s lives and affairs across borders.  Von der Leyen also apologised to Italy, amid widespread Italian discontent over Europe`s lack of solidarity.  Until the end of March 2020, almost all of Schengen`s internal borders were closed to non-essential travel. By July 2020, most of the borders closed due to coronavirus had been reopened. The Nordic Passport Union, which allows citizens of the Nordic countries to travel freely within the borders of the Nordic region, was founded in 1954.
When the EU Nordic Member States – Denmark, Sweden and Finland – applied for Schengen cooperation, Norway and Iceland also had to reach an agreement with the Schengen countries in order to maintain the Nordic Passport Union. This cooperation agreement was signed on 19 December 1996. Our Association Agreement on Participation in Schengen Cooperation gives us the right and obligation to apply all Schengen rules. These include rules on police cooperation, judicial cooperation in criminal matters, the visa regime and rules on controls of persons at external borders. The aim is to respond to the challenges posed by the removal of internal border controls. This mainly has an impact on the work of the police, law enforcement and immigration authorities. However, some third-country nationals are allowed to stay more than 90 days in the Schengen area without having to apply for a long-stay visa. For example, France does not require citizens of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City to apply for an extended residence visa.  In addition, Article 20, paragraph 2, of the Schengen Agreement continues to apply it ”in exceptional circumstances” and bilateral agreements concluded by some signatory states with other countries prior to the convention`s entry into force.