Internal border controls in the Schengen area have been taken hostage for a Socialist campaign before the European elections next year. Their unrealistic and burdensome conditions for imposing temporary border controls will have two outcomes: havoc of unilateral national decisions to close borders, and less security in the EU.
“We refuse to play this hazardous political game in which open internal borders, one of the greatest assets of our unified Europe, are at stake. For this reason, the EPP Group cannot support what the Socialists are proposing: tying the Member States’ hands in cases where they need to control, for the security of their citizens, who crosses their borders”, said József Nagy MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman on the updated conditions under which Member States can temporarily control who arrives and leaves their territory.
”With the changes the Socialists want, they have swept away what is really needed: European oversight and strong but applicable rules all countries will have to respect when they want to impose border checks. The Socialists’ proposal is also worrying when it comes to managing migration effectively - there are real risks of this escalating the migration crisis”, said Roberta Metsola MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokeswoman in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.
“Freedom of movement across the Schengen internal borders is one of the main achievements of the EU for most citizens. However, security has always been the most important value for all Europeans. Our responsibility is to create a kind of legislative framework that keeps free movement in Schengen, but does not obstruct the ability of Member States to keep security in check. This is why it would be a tremendous mistake to eliminate the flexible introduction of border controls as a last resort measure”, added Nagy.
Unfortunately, the report as presented by the Rapporteur disrupted the balance the European Commission was seeking: the possibility of longer timeframes for internal border controls conditioned by Member States’ compliance with strict rules such as obligatory risk assessment, consultations at EU level, and ultimate approval of all border controls by the Council.
“Unfortunately, from time to time we face security threats. If the timeframe for the border control elapses and the security threat is still there, we cannot just close our eyes and let people feel unsafe. The EPP Group has been consistent when it comes to the security of citizens. Member States must be strictly controlled but equipped with tools to regulate their border regimes in cases where there are clear security risks. We defend Schengen, but Schengen should remain a system that protects us”, concluded József Nagy.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 219 Members from 28 Member States