European Movement UK

Britain's future is with Europe! Join the debate and put your opinion forward!

In early May 2011, borth France and Italy requested the European Commission to adapt the Schengen rules, abolishing border checks within the EU and proving crucial for the free movement principle, cornerstone of the EU’s economic and legal system.

A few days later, the European Commission tabled a proposal to revise the Schengen system and to allow for temporary border checks to be re-installed between Member States. Barroso, the Commission’s president, held that “Reintroducing border controls is not a desirable development for Europe, neither in the current circumstances, nor for the future challenges that we will face sooner or later. It should be an absolute last resort.” The proposal was warmly welcomed by the Green party in the European Parliament and by the European People’s party, although it was strongly critisized by the European Socialist and Liberals.
Further, Denmark decided on 11 may to rebuild its border checks in its ports and airports, and to re-open its border control points with Germany and with Sweden (to which Denmark united by a bridge).

On the one hand,a possible re-establishment of border controls within the Union, even if temporary and applied as a measure of last resort, clearly goes against the aim of Schengen to provide a free circulation area within the EU and the Schengen Members. Such measures would severely hinder free trade and free movement provisions, which are amongst the EU’s key principles. Further, the adoption of such measures implictly shows a lack of trust between Member States, especially regarding the way some of them protect the Union’s external borders.

On the other hand, some argue that national authorities should protect themselves against cross-border crime and against massive fluxes of illegal immigration (as under the current Schengen system, once these have gained initial access to the EU’s territory, they are entitled to free movement and can go to other EU Member States), and the only and most effective way to achieve such protection is with the installment of border check points and border controls.

What do you think? Is the Commission’s proposal a step backwards or a step forward? Do you prefer a free Europe or a highly securitized Europe

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  1. I think the language is too vague. What is a “last resort”. With the rise of populist parties “last resorts” could become increasingly common for purely populist reasons.

    You are completely correct aout the lack of trust between memeber states. That is what the last couple of months have shown more than anything.

    Dark day for the Commission.

  2. Very regressive. Where does the logic end? Checks between provinces and semi autonomous areas within nation states? Between Scotland and England? Flanders and Wallonia? Road blocks wherever we want to tighten the net even further? When I think back to the pre-schengen or even Berlin Wall days and all its controls I cant believe we would want to re-build barriers rather than work to dismantle more of them

  3. This is the ridiculous denial of the main philosophy of the existence of the EU. The presented threat of the illegal immigration has been here always which is not the right argument pro. I feel very sorry for this, the lack of trust is evident.

  4. Thought-provoking blog entry. I discovered four typos, though:

    ‘borth’; ‘critisized’; ‘hand,a…’; ‘installment’; and there’s no gap between the second and third paragraphs

    I think the EU needs to adjust its border policy to current political climate. The EU should fulfill her role as refuge provider, but it needs to be done through a regulatory framework, and not through haphazard border-leaping.

  5. Massive fluxes of illegal immigration are not so massive when you compare the real number of “illegal” immigrant to the number of other immigrants or migrants inside EU.
    Anyway, if authorities can not avoid illegal immigration from outside EU, how will they avoid movements inside, without “massive” expenses and troubles for legal EU residents and EU economy?
    This is just a bad idea of politicians who have no more other efficient way to get votes.

  6. Yesterday 05.19.2011 time 21, i was met with systematic border control in Gedser, Denmark.
    The cars were lined up , questions asked, cars searched, I had to identify myself, and the checked me. Police was not present. They did not search for anything specific , narcotics ect – no dogs vere present .
    I was delayed 30 to 40 minutes.
    I strongly protest against this behaviour.
    Please stop this. It is a waste of time and money and it is an expense on top of our tarade and transport.
    I will be prepared to make a lot of noise andf trouble every time i meet this stupidity.
    Many greetings Jacob Schønberg

  7. Please don’t let us go back to the stupid time-wasting border controls. As a student I hitch-hiked through many European countries. Staying in Salzburg I went to swim in Konigsee (Germany) every day for a week. Each time it was necessary to clear border control between Germany and Austria twice- 4 checks for each visit. Then on one occasion I had somehow omitted to have my passport stamped… It took an hour to sort this out, solved by stamping it with the previous days date! How happy now to travel anywhere with no such stupid controls. Surely the solution is tighter entry controls at the borders of the EU for non-EU citizens?

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