Schengen border management needs rules for COVID and for Belarus hybrid attacks

Cartoon showing a border crossing with EU flag

“It was high time for the Commission to react after the recent crises, health emergencies and hybrid attacks on our external borders. All these exposed weaknesses in our Union's border management and threatened the right to free movement”, said Jeroen Lenaers MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesman on Home Affairs, after the European Commission today presented changes to the Schengen Borders Code.

The European Commission proposal modernises the external border management to tackle human trafficking, to address unauthorised movements within the area and to respond more resiliently to serious threats, including threats to public health. Another key point is the new measures Member States can take to manage the EU's external borders effectively in a situation where migrants are instrumentalised for political purposes. This includes limiting the number of border crossing points and intensifying border surveillance.

"These are crucial steps to prevent Alexander Lukashenko from further using migrants on the border between Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus as an instrument to destabilise the EU", Lenaers said.

The rules also include a new Schengen safeguard mechanism to provide a common response at the internal borders in situations of threats affecting a majority of Member States, such as health threats or other threats to internal security and public policy. Furthermore, the EPP Group welcomes the proposals addressing unauthorised movements within the Schengen area.

“Our citizens expect us to deliver on effective border management to better handle upcoming crises. Besides, the proposals are essential to form a strong block without border controls and with efficient cross-border police cooperation. This way, we can ensure both the right free movement and a high level of security, which form the very core of the Schengen area”, concluded Lenaers.

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The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 177 Members from all EU Member States

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