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Sunday, February 5, 2023

EPP Group: Functioning and safe Schengen area requires clear EU rules

Schengen is one of Europe’s success stories but further action is needed to ensure that the freedom of movement is not put at risk.

 

A report adopted by the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, dismantling the rules for the reintroduction of internal border controls, is a step in the wrong direction, which could compromise the functioning of the Schengen area as we know it.

MEP József Nagy, EPP Group Spokesperson on the temporary reintroduction of border controls at internal borders file being voted on yesterday in the Committee of Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, said: “The position of the Left, to dilute the Commission’s proposal, is a ticking time bomb to the functioning of the Schengen area as a whole, and all the advantages it brings. It is unrealistic to expect Member States to give up control over their national borders in the face of security threats. Instead, we need to focus on developing strict procedural safeguards at EU level, which will prevent unilateral action and the abuse of such power. In medicine, doctors say that ‘prevention is better than cure’ – and the same applies when it comes to security.”

In the proposed new rules on the temporary reintroduction of border controls at internal borders, the possibility of longer time frameworks for internal border controls is conditional upon Member States’ compliance with a strict EU regulatory framework. Member States would be obliged to carry out a risk assessment of how the border controls would help in addressing a security threat.

The Commission, Frontex, Europol and the Council would all be involved in the decision-making process about whether or not internal border controls suggested by Member States can be introduced.

Citizens can put their mind at rest if the Union’s external borders are better managed, if the wave-through approach (secondary movements), which is neither politically nor legally acceptable, is put to an end, and if the Union adopts a coordinated approach to temporary border controls, bringing to an end the current patchwork of unilateral decisions taken by Member States.

It is only through such steps that European citizens would be able to continue exercising their freedoms, whilst the internal market continues to prosper and develop.

MEP Nagy adds: “The security of one Member State depends on the security of all Member States. Member States should be encouraged to cooperate together as much as possible in operational police work, using all available tools to enhance security within Schengen.”

Sorce: EPP Group

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