Border controls within the Schengen area are meant to be a thing of the past. Yet, since the refugee crisis of 2015, “temporary” border controls have become quasi permanent in several European Union Member States. Although these controls are against the letter and spirit of the Schengen Borders Code, the Commission has not taken any measures to enforce these rules. One of the reasons for the dismal state of the Schengen area is the one-sided focus on the abolition of internal border controls as primarily functional for the establishment of the internal market. This comes at the expense of Union citizens’ rights and disregards the fundamental role that the abolition of border controls has on how citizens see the Union in political terms and conceive themselves as Union citizens. Against this background, we argue that from its beginning the objective of the project to abolish border controls was to foster a supranational political identity of Union citizens by transforming citizens’ spatial experience. Union citizenship in the current EU Treaty framework constitutes the legal expression of that historical connection between the abolition of border controls and free movement. Emphasizing the citizenship dimension of an area without internal frontiers provides a different perspective on current controls at the Schengen internal borders.