Closure of borders: Civil Liberties Chair demands proportionality and coordination in the EU. ©Aliaksei Smalenski/Adobe Stock  

Statement of the Civil Liberties Committee Chair, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) on the reintroduction of border controls at some Schengen internal borders due to coronavirus.

“In the last days, several EU member states have reintroduced border controls at their internal borders within the Schengen area or even closed them for certain categories of travellers while some further member states are considering such measures.

As Chair of Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee, while I fully share the need for public policy measures restricting social interaction to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus, I urge member states to take their measures in full respect of the principles of proportionality and, above all, solidarity among EU Member States, non-discrimination and the applicable Schengen rules. It is key that when taking measures no discrimination is made between EU citizens.

It is only through a coordinated approach, rather than actions taken by individual Member States, that we will be successful in addressing the challenge we are all facing.

The Civil Liberties committee is closely monitoring the situation and expects the Commission, the Council Presidency and the member states to protect all benefits of the Schengen area.”


Background:

Regulation (EU) 2016/399 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) explicitly provides for risk of public health as a ground to refuse entry at the external Schengen border (Title II), but it does not provide for the possibility to temporarily reintroduce border control at internal borders on public health grounds (Title III thereof).