Wednesday

20th Nov 2019

Juncker: Euro doesn't make sense without Schengen

  • The euro could fail if Schgen fails, EU commission president Juncker has said (Photo: wfbakker2)

Europe's single currency would come under threat if the Schengen visa-free travel zone fails, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday, in his first speech to the European Parliament since the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Juncker warned that the euro is pointless if people can't move around freely to use it.

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“If the spirit of Schengen leaves us ... we’ll lose more than the Schengen agreement. A single currency doesn’t make sense if Schengen fails,” Juncker told the parliamentarians.

“Schengen is one of the main pillars of the construction of Europe,” he added.

The Schengen system of open borders has come under pressure as EU member states struggle to stop the influx of refugees - a level of displaced not seen since the end of World War II.

Schengen has 26 members, though a few are not EU states.

It is one of the major achievements of the European Union, allowing for free flow of people and goods.

“We have to safeguard the spirit behind the Schengen agreement,” Junkcer said, admitting: “The Schengen system is partly comatose.”

“Those who believe in Europe, those who believe in its values and principles, freedoms, must breathe new life into the spirit behind Schengen,” he noted.

“A single currency doesn’t make sense if Schengen fails,” he repeated.

He again warned against equating terrorists with refugees, saying politicians should not exploit the tragic Paris attacks.

“Those who carried out these attacks in Paris, those who incited these attacks, are the same people who are forcing the unlucky of this planet to flee, please dot get things mixed up,” Juncker said.

Speaking at the parliament, where legislation on sharing airline passengers’ data has stalled, Junkcer called on MEPs to cover people flying within the EU in the law.

He also confirmed the EU commission willi come forward with proposals on an EU-wide border guard and coast guard system in December, and called for more effective cooperation between European intelligence services.

EU agrees on Schengen checks for all

EU "collective reaction must be ruthless," said French minister, as controls are to be stepped up for migrants and EU nationals.

EU citizens to be checked at Schengen borders

EU justice and interior ministers meeting Friday will ask the commission to change the Schengen area rules and will push for better use of technologies to control external and internal borders.

Opinion

Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'

As ex-national leaders, we know it's not easy to withstand public pressures and put collective interests ahead of domestic concerns. But without strong institutional leadership, EU values themselves risk ringing hollow, not least to those seeking protection on Europe's shores.

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