MEPs Express Concern Over Possible Changes to Schengen Rules

According to an EP press release, during Monday’s LIBE meeting, MEPs expressed concern over the “Commission’s announcement that it is considering a temporary reintroduction of checks at the EU’s internal borders.”

From the EP press release:

“‘Schengen governance is suffering too much from inter-governmentalism’, said the Commission representative [at the LIBE meeting], adding that the Commission would table a communication on the issue on 4 May. The Commission paper will seek to ‘replace the unilateral re-introduction of border controls by a Community mechanism’. This would enable the Commission temporarily to impose checks at national borders, in exceptional circumstances and as a last resort.  [Click on this link [DRAFT 15-04-2011] for a draft version of the Commission Communication on Migration.]

‘The decision would be taken collectively, and not unilaterally as is now the case’, said the Commission representative, pointing out that, at present, Member States’ decisions to restore internal border checks cannot be challenged before the European Court of Justice.

‘Schengen should not be weakened’, said Civil Liberties Committee rapporteur Carlos Coelho (EPP, PT), asking for ‘some precaution’ on this issue….

According to the Commission representative, the 4 May communication, to be unveiled ahead of the extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 12 May and of the European Council in June, will provide a long-term perspective for migration policies.

The communication will focus on the management of the Schengen area and propose ways to improve the administration of the visa system. It will also address the common asylum system, which needs to overcome the current impasse in the Council, and the ‘security and mobility partnership’….

‘This is not a Schengen problem, this is a social problem’ to do with migration, said Birgit Sippel (S&D, DE), adding that ‘I am bothered about the timing’ of these requests by Sarkozy and Berlusconi.

The ‘Council is not willing to deal with migration’, added Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL). Concerning the reintroduction of border controls, she called for a clear definition of ‘temporary’. Franziska Keller (Greens/EFA, DE), asked ‘Which are the specific cases and who decides what is an emergency or not?’…”

Click here for EP press release.

Click on this link [DRAFT 15-04-2011] for draft version of the Commission Communication on Migration.

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