Thursday

1st Oct 2020

Danish presidency in firing line over Schengen decision

  • “Since the evening of June 7, the Danish Presidency is no longer a credible interlocutor,” said French centre-right MEP Joseph Daul (Photo: afagen)

Furious members of the European Parliament have threatened to cut relations with the Danish EU presidency following a decision by member states to exclude parliament from having a say on how rules in the Union's borderless area are applied.

“Since the evening of June 7, the Danish Presidency is no longer a credible interlocutor,” said French centre-right MEP Joseph Daul, who chairs the parliament’s largest group the EPP, on Tuesday (12 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“From now to June 30 at midnight, we shall address ourselves exclusively either to the European Council or informally to the next Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus,” said Daul.

Member states on 7 June rejected a European Commission proposal that would have lifted evaluation of the Schengen area from the current peer-to-peer review up to EU-level supervision.

The commission package, tabled in September, followed the large influx of migrants and refugees from the Arab Spring earlier last year. The migrant numbers sparked debates on how and under what conditions member states can impose internal border control checks.

The Commission was pushing for greater oversight into how Schengen would be evaluated. But member states resisted saying evaluation should remain in their hands.

They also argued that a reduction in the Commission’ oversight should automatically lead to parliament being granted just observer status.

Morten Boedskov, the Danish minister for justice, told Parliament that the decision was purely legal and had no anterior political motives. “There was no other possible decision in the Council,” he said.

He pointed out that the regulation on Schengen border codes, which governs the movement of people across borders, would still require Parliament’s decision-making input.

As for its evaluation, Boedskov promised that member states would consider the views of MEPs to the “fullest extent possible”.

But MEPs were not to be mollified. They believe it is a calculated attempt to weaken EU institutions.

“This is the saddest day in your whole Council presidency,” said Rebecca Harms, a German MEP and Green group chief.

Hannes Swoboda, the Austrian head of the centre-left S&D group, accused the Danish EU presidency of “going down a dangerous path”.

Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt called the decision a "disgrace." He and others want to challenge the decision before the European Court of Justice.

Verhofstadt also said the Parliament should suspend relations with the Danish EU presidency but specified in matters concerning justice and home affairs.

The Commission, for its part, also protested. “The peer-to-peer review has proven to be quite useless,” said EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

“It is not just about a legal proposal, it is about political ambition,” added the commissioner. “We are clearly disappointed about the Council’s decision.”

MEPs boycott negotiations with member states in Schengen row

The European Parliament decided on Thursday to boycott negotiations with member states on five home affairs legislative packages until a “satisfactory outcome” on how rules governing the EU borderless area are achieved.

Exclusive

'Big Three' EP groups nominate homophobe for Sakharov prize

The centre-right EPP, centre-left S&D, and liberal Renew Europe have all nominated a homophobe for the Sakharov prize - the prestigious annual prize handed out by the European Parliament to people who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms.

News in Brief

  1. Polish MEP defects to Greens from Socialists & Democrats
  2. Finally a federal government agreement in Belgium
  3. Auditor appeals for EU funds on child poverty
  4. British MPs get behind controversial Brexit bill
  5. France admits Covid-19 app low take-up
  6. UK sanctions Belarus leadership
  7. Poland introduces new Covid-19 rules but no lockdown
  8. Turkey reportedly downs Armenian fighter jet

Opinion

Why so few women in EU missions?

Angela Merkel is only the seventh woman to chair the Council of the European Union's meetings. And in 2020 there is no woman leading any of the current 11 European civilian missions (let alone the six military operations).

Commission chief under fire for Croatia campaign video

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen recorded a video in support of Croatia's ruling party, which the EU executive said was in her "personal capacity" - and admits it was a "mistake" that this was not made clear.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Celebrate with us. EUobserver's 20 years of independent EU news
  2. Ban on Catalan leader condemned as 'disproportionate'
  3. EU defends Jourova over Hungary's resignation demand
  4. A 'geopolitical' EU Commission. Great idea - but when?
  5. The EU's new rule of law report - pushing at an open door?
  6. EU tries to avoid lockdowns as global death toll reaches 1m
  7. Reports: Turkey sent Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan
  8. German presidency tries to end EU's rule-of-law battle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us