Thursday

21st Sep 2017

EU seeks new rules on internal border checks

The European Commission is working on revising rules that allow EU states to impose internal border controls and checks throughout the passport-free Schengen area.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (6 September) that a proposal will soon be put forward to reform the so-called Schengen Borders Code.

"Very soon we shall be in a position to present our proposals," he said.

One EU commission official noted that a possible option for the reform would be to allow the states to use terrorism, and not migration flows, as a basis for internal controls.

"It [terrorism] is really not explicit, it is really not covered by the rules," she said, noting the rules are vague in regard to such serious threats to internal security.

"We are still exploring options whether there is [a need to make terrorism explicit in the rules] but we have said that we recognise that is one of the grey areas of the border code."

A new legal basis, based explicitly on terrorism, could allow the same states to then continue the border controls after the November deadline and possibly without limits on the extensions.

The announcement comes ahead of a November deadline for Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and non-EU member state Norway to lift their internal checks.

It also follows previous statements by Avramopoulos, who told reporters over the summer that the countries would no longer be able to prolong border controls for another six months.

All five over the summer had demanded the six-month extensions, as part of a wider effort to prevent migrants from moving north of Greece and elsewhere. Those controls must end in November, given that the code imposes a two-year limit on the six-month extensions, for reasons linked to migration movements.

"There are some countries that have presented justified reasons in order to ask for an extension of internal border controls, but this period is approaching its end and it is not legally justified to prolong it," Avramopoulos noted on Wednesday.

But intense pressure from Germany and France, along with other EU states, who want the rules reformed, appears to have eased the commission's position, as it is now preparing to launch a reform of the code.

Schengen states are currently only allowed to temporarily reintroduce controls at the internal borders when there is serious threat to public policy or internal security.

EU agency to fight election hacking

A new-model EU cybersecurity agency could help states defend their elections against "hybrid attacks", the Commission has said.

EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales

The European Commission has said it is in a "dialogue" with Cyprus amid concerns on loopholes in its passport sale scheme.

EU intelligence agency not a priority

Julian King, the EU commissioner for security, says talk of an EU intelligence agency would be a distraction from more pressing coounter-terrorism work.

EU monitoring Cyprus passport sales

The European Commission has said it is in a "dialogue" with Cyprus amid concerns on loopholes in its passport sale scheme.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  2. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  3. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  5. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  6. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  9. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  10. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  11. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  12. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies