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Sanctions have become an increasingly central element of the EU's common and foreign security policy. At present, the EU has over 50 sanctions programmes in place, concerning nearly 40 countries. Unlike the comprehensive trade embargoes used in the past, the EU has moved towards asset freezes and visa bans targeting individual persons and companies, aiming to influence foreign governments while avoiding humanitarian costs for the general population. Other measures in the sanctions 'toolkit' include ...

In December 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal to amend the Schengen Borders Code, which lays down the rules governing controls at the EU internal and external borders. While debates on the reform of Schengen have been going on for a while, recent challenges – relating to the coronavirus pandemic on the one hand, and attempts to instrumentalise migrants as a way to put pressure on the EU's external borders, on the other – have created new momentum for reform. The Commission's proposal ...

State of the Schengen area

Briefing 12-12-2023

The development of the Schengen area is one of the major achievements of European integration. The removal of checks on persons at internal borders greatly facilitates the exercise of the EU freedoms of movement, which brings significant social and economic benefits. The Schengen area has come under increased stress in the past decade, owing to multiple challenges relating to increased migration into the EU, threats to internal security and the COVID 19 pandemic. In response to these challenges, ...

'This is Europe' – an initiative proposed by the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola – consists of a series of debates with EU leaders to discuss their visions for the future of the European Union. In his address to the European Parliament on 19 April 2023, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, emphasised three topics: i) democracy and the rule of law, ii) strategic autonomy, and iii) migration. He called for greater protection of minorities and respect for the rule of ...

Traffic does not stop at the borders of the European Union (EU) Member States. Many holders of driving licences issued by one Member State make cross-border trips to another for private or professional purposes, or change their country of residence. With an average of 45 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2021, the EU is by far the world leader when it comes to road safety. However, much more will need to be done to achieve the EU's ambitious objectives, namely, halving fatalities in road transport ...

The Schengen area, which is free of systematic controls at internal borders, comprises 22 EU Member States and four non-EU associated countries. While four other Member States – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania – are bound by the Schengen body of EU law (acquis), internal border controls have not yet been lifted for them. Following a positive Schengen evaluation of Croatia, the Council has prepared a draft decision on the full application of the Schengen acquis in Croatia, and requested the ...

The Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) held a workshop with the aim to get a better understanding about customs control practices in Member States and their possible improvements. This publication includes the full documentation of the workshop: programme, summary of the debate, background briefing, profiles of speakers and their presentations.

The Schengen area without internal borders has been under stress over the past decade owing to several successive crises, including the sudden arrival of large numbers of people across the EU's external borders, persistent threats to internal security, and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Although according to the Schengen rules the reintroduction of border controls at internal borders should be a temporary and exceptional measure, several Member States have maintained internal border controls ...

The Commission demonstrates that the Schengen area has experienced considerable challenges in recent years and makes a convincing case for the need to act. It made an effort to substantiate the initiative and to consult widely. The IA is transparent about the lack of data, which results in a predominantly qualitative analysis. However, the presentation of options leaves, in fact, only the choice of the preferred option. Moreover, one would have expected a more in-depth assessment of impacts – a point ...

Given the continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic and of certain travel restrictions within the EU, the European Commission has proposed to extend the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC) regulations by one year, until 30 June 2023. The Commission also proposed some limited amendments to the regulations.