Tuesday

28th Feb 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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Germany seeks to harden EU border checks

German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said internal EU border controls should be imposed on security as well as immigrations grounds, shifting their legal basis.

Analysis

Why Romania erupted in protest

Current anger over corruption laws can be traced back to a night-club fire in 2015, when many died because of lax safety standards. Romanians then realised that corruption can kill.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

News in Brief

  1. Le Pen party in new EU fraud allegations
  2. May to end rights of EU nationals after Article 50 triggered
  3. Nato warns against Armenia-Azerbaijan 'escalation'
  4. EU: No military solution to Nagorno-Karabakh war
  5. EU adopts visa-free brake mechanism
  6. Trump and Brexit drew on same resources
  7. Romanian protestors form EU flag at anti-government rally
  8. Over 3,500 attacks on refugees in Germany: report

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFA Deadly Journey for Children: The Migration Route From North Africa to Europe
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsFreedom of Association and Expression Under Threat in Kazakhstan
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Brussels on March 6th
  4. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  6. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  7. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  8. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  9. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  10. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  11. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen