Local border traffic as a liberalization of the Schengen legal regime in the regional dimension with particular regard to the EU-Ukraine border

Mały ruch graniczny jako liberalizacja reżimu granicznego Schengen w wymiarze regionalnym ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem granicy unijno-ukraińskiej

ORCID: Anna Szachoń-Pszenny: 0000-0002-2353-3745

Afiliacja: John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

Pages: 161-176

Edition: Lublin 2020

DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.9

Citation method: A. Szachoń-Pszenny, Local border traffic as a liberalization of the Schengen legal regime in the regional dimension with particular regard to the EU-Ukraine border, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej” 18(2020), z. 1, s. 161-176,
DOI: https://doi.org/10.36874/RIESW.2020.1.9

Keywords:, , , , ,

Abstract: Local border traffic has a legal basis in the Schengen acquis and is related to the EU’s free movement of persons, which, subject to certain conditions, is also available to third-country nationals. The subject of the article is the legal analysis of the Schengen regime in the context of cross-border cooperation with selected third countries on the external eastern border. The research thesis is proving that local border traffic is an exception to the Schengen regime and at the same time defines the regional dimension of the Schengen area. These analyses will be based on the practical context, which is the operation of the local border traffic on the example of the external eastern border of the European Union, particularly the EU-Ukraine border, which is also the external border of the EU and the Schengen area. In this context, the impact of the liberalized Schengen regime on the movement of people across the EU-Ukraine external border will be examined, which will indicate its phased nature with particular emphasis on the role of local border traffic as a transition phase between visa and visa-free traffic. The article uses comparative statistical data on both forms of liberalization of the Schengen legal regime on the border with Ukraine. At the same time, considering the local border traffic on the EU-Ukraine border, it is worth putting forward a thesis that the local border traffic is increasingly being replaced by visa-free travel. In addition, the LBT became the first step to introduce a visa-free regime, which is further liberalization of the Schengen regime.


Allmendinger, P., Chilla, T., Sielker, F., ‘Europeanizing territoriality – towards soft spaces?’, Environment and Planning A, no. 46 (11), 2014, https://doi.org/10.1068/a130037p.

Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Poland and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on rules on local border traffic, signed in Kiev on 28 March 2008 [Umowa między Rządem Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej a Gabinetem Ministrów Ukrainy o zasadach małego ruchu granicznego, podpisana w Kijowie dnia 28 marca 2008 r., Dziennik Ustaw 2009.103.858, version from 22 January 2016].

Cesarz, M., ‘The evolution of Polish Visa Policy after entering the EU and the Schengen Area’, in: How Borderless is Europe? Multi-disciplinary approach to European Studies, ed. I. Tarrosy, Pecs: Publikon, 2015.

Commission Staff Working Paper, Developing the Acquis on ‘Local Border Traffic’, Brussels, 9 September 2002 SEC(2002) 947, https://www.eumonitor.nl/9353000/1/j9vvik7m1c3gyxp/vi7jgstgtftw#p1.

Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders, OJ L 239, 22 September 2000.

Council of the EU, ‘Visas: Council adopts regulation on visa liberalization for Ukrainian citizens. 11 May 2017’, https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/ press/press-releases/2017/05/11/visa-liberalization-ukraine/.

European Commission, Territorial Cooperation in Europe. A Historical Perspective, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2015.

Gumenyuk, I., Kuznetsova, T., Osmolovskaya, L., ‘Local border traffic as an efficient tool for developing cross-border cooperation’, Baltiс Region, no. 8/1, 2016, https://doi.org/10.5922/2079-8555-2016-1-6.

Kamphuis, O., The eastern external border of the EUA journey through the borderlands of the EU and its neighbours, Nijmegen 2011.

Kretinin, G., Mironyuk, D.A., ‘Local Border Traffic as a Form of Visa Liberalization and Territorial Development’, Baltic Region, no. 4, 2014, https://doi.org/10.5922/2079-8555-2014-4-2.

NATOscope (2017), http://www.monitor-press.com/pl/2-pol/wiadomo-ci/6002-1961.html.

Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 laying down rules on local border traffic at the external land borders of the Member States and amending the provisions of the Schengen Convention, OJL 405, 30 December 2006.

Regulation (EU) 1342/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 as regards the inclusion of the Kaliningrad oblast and certain Polish administrative districts in the eligible border area, OJ L 347, 30 December 2011.

Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code), OJ L 77, 23 March 2016.

Sagan, I., Kolosov, V., Studzińska, D. et al., ‘The local border traffic zone experiment as an instrument of cross-border integration: the case of Polish- Russian borderland’, Geographia Polonica, no. 91/1, 2018, https://doi.org/10.7163/gpol.0102.

Soft Spaces in Europe: Re-negotiating governance, boundaries and borders, eds. P. Allmendinger, G. Haughton, J. Knieling, F. Othengrafen, Regional Studies Association, Regions and Cities, London–New York, 2015, https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315768403.

Soroka, G., Stępniewski, T., ‘The Three Seas Initiative: Geopolitical Determinants and Polish Interests’, Yearbook of the Institute of East-Central Europe, vol. 17, no. 3, 2019, https://doi.org/10.36874/riesw.2019.3.2.

Szachoń-Pszenny, A., ‘Three-stage enlargement of the Schengen area to include new EU member states under the post-Amsterdam principles’, Przegląd Europejski, vol. 3, 2018, https://przegladeuropejski.com.pl/re-sources/html/article/details?id=188976, https://doi.org/10.5604/01.3001.0013.1957.

Szulecka, M., ‘Regulating Movement of the Very Mobile: Selected Legal and Policy Aspects of Ukrainian Migration to EU Countries’, in: Ukrainian Migration to the European Union. Lessons from Migration Studies, eds. O. Fedyuk, M. Kindler, SpringerOpen, 2016, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-41776-9_4, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-41776-9_4.

Thomann, P.-E., ‘The Three Seas Initiative, a New Project at the Heart of European and Global Geopolitical Rivalries’, Yearbook of the Institute of East-Central Europe, vol. 17, no. 3, 2019, https://doi.org/10.36874/riesw.2019.3.3.

Treaty of Amsterdam OJ C 340, amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, 10 November 1997, https://doi.org/10.18356/9871edf7-en-fr.

Treaty on European Union, OJ C 202, 7 June 2016.

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, OJ C 202, 7 June 2016.

Witkowski P., ‘Cross-Border Cooperation between the European Union and Neighbouring Countries. Practical Facilitations in the Form of Local Border Traffic’, Barometr Regionalny, no. 12/1, 2014, https://doi.org/10.35480/braip-2019.17.1-722.

Keywords:, , , , ,