Germany, as one of the five founding members, is a good example of how the Schengen states have benefited. Economically, Germany has a large population and territory and is known worldwide for its advanced technologies in manufacturing, including automotive, electrical equipment and chemical engineering. These products can move freely in other Schengen states, which means that citizens can pay less to buy the same product as before, when taxes and border controls were still in force. From a political point of view, the enlargements of the EU and the Schengen area make Germany the geographical centre of Europe. Although the EU and Schengen headquarters are in Brussels, Germany can sometimes play a more important role in dealing with more pressing issues such as the Ukrainian crisis. Culturally, according to statistics, Germans have a strong self-identification as European citizens. Footnote 25 Given that self-identification is one of the main determinants of successful European integration, the cultural impact of Schengen should not be overlooked in the analysis. Permits are issued with a validity period of between one and five years and allow you to stay in the border area for a maximum of three months. Permits can only be issued to legitimate residents of the border area who have been in the border area for at least one year (or more, if the bilateral agreement so provides). Applicants for approval must demonstrate that they have legitimate reasons for frequently crossing an external land border under the local border transport regime. Schengen States must keep a central register of authorisations issued and allow other Schengen States immediate access to relevant data. A short-stay visa costs €60 ($46; $66), but only €35 for Russians, Ukrainians and citizens of some other countries under visa facilitation agreements. Before concluding an agreement with a neighbouring state, the Schengen state must obtain the agreement of the European Commission, which must confirm that the draft agreement complies with the regulation.
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