Thursday

22nd Oct 2020

EU countries say 'No' to commission powers on border control

  • The commission proposals will be sent to EU member states and MEPs next week, but final approval could take over a year (Photo: Marta Arribas, Madrid, Spain)

Three leading countries have told the European Commission that its bid to take control of the EU's passport-free travel system will not fly.

The interior ministers of Germany, France and Spain in a joint statement to press on Tuesday (10 September) said: "We believe that respecting [this] core area of national sovereignty is very important to the member states. We therefore do not share the European Commission's views on assuming responsibility for making decisions on operational measures in the security field."

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

It added: "The decision whether to re-introduce temporary checks at the internal borders is based on an intensive assessment of the national security situation, which can only be carried out by the member states on the basis of the expertise and resources of their security authorities."

The commission will on Friday adopt its final plan for how the so-called Schengen zone - a free-movement agreement between 22 EU countries, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland - should be governed in future.

Its home affairs spokesman, Michele Cercone, declined to comment either on the ministers' communique or the draft proposals.

But last week, he revealed the EU executive wants to make decisions on when border checks can be temporarily re-introduced for special events such as football championships on in reaction to crises such as terrorist attacks.

"We have to move to a European system if we want Schengen to be safeguarded and guaranteed," he said at the time.

The commission launched the Schengen reform process after France unilaterally reintroduced border checks in order to keep out Arab Spring migrants coming from Africa via Italy.

The group of three's letter supported draft provisions to suspend a Schengen member if they become a liability for the rest of the zone, however.

"Strengthening Schengen governance in case a member state is no longer able to comply with its obligations under the Schengen rules is an important and shared concern and a mechanism should be introduced to respond to exceptional circumstances putting the overall functioning of Schengen co-operation at risk," it said.

The measure is reportedly aimed at Greece, which has become the main point of entry for irregular migrants into the EU because of its long land border with Turkey.

EU commission wants nations to give up border control decisions

The EU commission wants to have a central role in decisions on the reintroduction of border controls, so far a prerogative of individual member states. A draft proposal will be put forward next week and is already causing a stir in pre-election Denmark.

Greece to build wall on EU-Turkey border

The Greek government plans to build a wall along its 206-km-long land border with Turkey to help keep out unwanted migrants on the model of the US border with Mexico.

Commission pushes for 'europeanisation' of border controls

The EU commission is pressing ahead with a controversial draft bill on 'europeanising' the way border checks are introduced. Snap checks from Brussels to see how borders are managed in member states are also part of the proposal to be published Friday.

News in Brief

  1. Belarus opposition awarded 2020 Sakharov Prize
  2. Belgium's foreign minister in intensive care for Covid-19
  3. MEPs restrict CAP funding for bullfighting
  4. Coronavirus: Liège is 'the Lombardy of the second wave'
  5. UK to keep out EU nationals with criminal past
  6. Report: EU to restrict travel from Canada, Tunisia, Georgia
  7. Pope Francis supports same-sex civil unions
  8. EU Commission to increase use of open-source software

Corruption failures also highlighted in rule of law report

The European Commission's first report on the rule of law has raised concerns over the lack of effective anti-corruption efforts in some members sates - while it considers Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands have good governance measures.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  2. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  3. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups
  4. France vows tough retaliation for teacher's murder
  5. All eyes on EU court for decision on religious slaughter
  6. 'Big majority' of citizens want EU funds linked to rule of law
  7. EU declares war on Malta and Cyprus passport sales
  8. EU Commission's Libya stance undercut by internal report

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us