Secure EU external borders to help save Schengen passport-free area, urge MEPs
The reimposition of checks at the Schengen area’s internal borders has put one of the greatest and most tangible achievements of the European project at risk, observed most MEPs speaking in a debate with the Commission and the Council on Wednesday. They agreed that, in order to restore the normal functioning of the passport-free zone, the EU’s external borders need to be properly secured.
Many speakers warned about the costs that these internal border checks impose particularly in the transport and tourism sectors. Others questioned the need for and proportionality of the current controls and demanded that they be lifted as soon as possible. Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos underlined that these border checks are “exceptional and temporary” and assured MEPs that the aim is to lift them by the end of the year, at the latest.
Replay videos of statements by
Jeanine HENNIS-PLASSCHAERT, Dutch minister of defence, for the Council
Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS, Commissioner in charge of migration and home affairs
Kostas CHRYSOGONOS (GUE/NGL, EL)
Ska KELLER (Green/EFA, DE)
Harald VILIMSKY (ENF, AT)
Note to editors
The Commission proposed a recommendation to the Council on 4 May to prolong “proportionate controls” at the internal borders of Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Norway (not an EU member state, but part of the Schengen area) for six months (which may be renewed, no more than three times, up to a maximum of two years).from newsletter. Commissioner Avramopoulos announced in plenary session that the Council is expected to approve the recommendation tomorrow.
France also has controls in place, under the national state of emergency following the terrorist attacks in Paris, but these will be considered separately.