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Debates
Wednesday, 6 July 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Changes to Schengen (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Claude Moraes (S&D). – Madam President, at the outset, the Commissioner started to say the positive things we wanted to hear, but the pre-emptive strike contained in this resolution is here for a reason. The reason is that we, in wanting to convince the people of the value of Schengen – the genuine value of Schengen, the economic value of Schengen, the social value of Schengen – have to make that case. But we have to do that from this Parliament, not on the sidelines of consultation, but in the centre of the situation, with codecision. So, first of all, regarding Article 77, this is something we ask for and we expect to see from the Commission in the autumn.

The Socialists and Democrats are clear that we will work and vote with colleagues across this House who believe in the value of Schengen. Our group is saying very clearly that manipulation of Schengen comes at the greatest social and economic cost.

To the Council, we say that the flexibility already exists for Member States to alter the Schengen rules. It already exists, so we want a mechanism which provides safeguards and makes the Member States think twice if they want to abuse the rules that they themselves have put together.

We say clearly that we will oppose any new Schengen mechanism that has any other objective than enhancing freedom of movement and reinforcing EU governance of the Schengen area. We say to the Commission: do your job as guardian of the Treaties and provide the clear oversight which will make those Member States think twice about inflicting damage on a key freedom that our citizens enjoy.

The bigger picture is vital. There is a problem with the external border. Not since Tampere have we made rules on asylum and immigration, a fact that is now putting Schengen and the Schengen area under pressure. That is happening; it happened in Italy and France.

But what is at stake here, if the Commission does not get it right, is that you will irretrievably damage the Schengen area, which would then irretrievably damage one of the most positive and tangible benefits of the European Union. Our group will take the higher ground with all other colleagues in this Chamber and remain firm in the defence of Schengen.

 
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