One of the biggest conveniences of getting around Europe is the fact that there are no borders. For us, residents of cities located near the border, such as St. Petersburg, Murmansk, or even Pskov, in order to travel to a neighboring state, need to stand in line at the border, put stamps in their passports and do the same on the other side of the border.
This process has never been fast, and now waiting in line can take several hours. In Europe, this is much easier. From one country to another, you can enter without any obstacles. Let's see in pictures how they organize it.
Checkpoint on the border of France and Switzerland
There are checkpoints on the borders in Europe: although not on all roads, but in most cases these houses have been preserved since then times when the Schengen Agreement did not yet exist, and there really were real borders between European states. And it was not so long ago, only in 1995.
These buildings used to be full-fledged checkpoints where border guards stamped passports, but now everything is different. The frontier house has a huge “Chocolate and Currency Exchange” sign, and even then I'm not sure the exchange actually works. In Europe, they don’t really like cash and try to pay everywhere with cards, so as such, the exchange of paper money becomes an unnecessary rudiment.
This is the border between France and Switzerland. The photo was taken on the Swiss side, and on the right, in the distance, cars are already driving through French territory. Despite the stop sign, no one stops: everyone just slows down a little. There is not a soul in the window either, there is no one to give the passport for stamping.
Why don't they demolish these checkpoints if they are empty anyway?
Logical question. These checkpoints are not always empty. Even in today's relatively quiet time at intra-European borders, police sometimes selectively stop cars for checks. I saw this on the border of France and Italy, where a fashionable Italian carabinieri in sunglasses and with a machine gun braked some passing cars and checked documents.
The entire verification procedure took literally one minute. The maximum that the policeman asked to do was to open the trunk, but such a measure was applied only to the most suspicious drivers. 90% of the flow of cars just passed by, because one police officer physically cannot check the documents of each driver from a dense stream.
And this is now, but a couple of years ago, when the borders even within Europe were closed due to a pandemic, there were actually border guards at the checkpoints who checked entry documents, tests and vaccinations. There were no queues for many hours, because there were no total inspections of things, but there were still delays at the borders. that in extreme cases, checkpoints within Europe can again work. In general, movement without borders is very convenient. If you have traveled around Europe, you must have appreciated it.