Monday

21st Aug 2017

Sarkozy wants to scrap EU border-free agreement

  • Sarkozy wants to scrap the EU's border free pact (Photo: wfbakker2)

Former president of France Nicolas Sarkozy in an op-ed published in Le Point and Die Welt on Thursday (22 May) recommends putting an end to the border free Schengen agreement.

The conservative politician says a 'Schengen II' should replace the EU's internal open-border system. The new version would be reserved exclusively for member states with like-minded policies on immigration.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"It is necessary to immediately suspend Schengen I and replace it by a Schengen II in which members can only join after having beforehand adopted the same politics on immigration," he writes.

France, along with Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, were the first to begin the process of removing internal borders in 1985.

The pact has since expanded to almost every EU member state and allows people to circulate freely inside the EU without being subject to border check controls.

Sarkozy's version of the Schengen, he says, would prevent people from moving to other member states with the sole intention of living off welfare.

"If we don't react rapidly in the years to come, then it is our 'social pact' which will explode," he says.

Around 14 million EU citizens live in a host member state. The majority are employed or live in households with someone who is, according to the European Commission.

An advocate general at the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice on Wednesday in an opinion also noted countries are entitled to reject unfounded benefit claims.

The advocate general said a member state can reject "social security benefits for jobseekers who are in need of assistance" if the person had gone to the country solely to claim benefits.

Every EU citizen has the right to reside on the territory of another EU country for up to three months without any conditions or formalities.

But existing EU laws also entitle member states to expel any EU national who becomes an "unreasonable financial burden".

Earlier this year, Euronews reported Belgian authorities had sent expulsion letters to 2,712 EU citizens for being an unreasonable burden on its welfare system.

The European Commission, for its part, sees Schengen as one the EU's greatest achievements, which "goes to the heart of Union citizenship".

Sarkozy also took a swipe at the EU.

He says at least half of the EU's current competence in policy and decision-making should be stripped and that the commission should no longer have the right of legislative initiative.

"The commission should no longer have any legislative competences since there is a European Parliament, it and only it can legislate," he said.

The former president also recommended setting up a Franco-German economic pact, which would in turn govern the 18 members of the euro zone.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference