Wednesday

7th Dec 2022

MEPs boycott negotiations with member states in Schengen row

  • The decision to suspend negotiations on justice and home affairs issues came 27 years after the Schengen agreement was signed on 14 June 1985 (Photo: European Commission)

The European Parliament decided on Thursday (14 June) to boycott negotiations with member states on five home affairs legislative packages until a “satisfactory outcome” on how rules governing the EU borderless area are achieved.

“The conference of presidents has decided not to take any further action, not to negotiate with Council until an agreement has been reached with Council on the matter of Schengen,” said European Parliament chief Martin Schulz in Strasbourg.

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

EU ministers had on 7 June decided to exclude parliament from having a say on how rules governing the Union's passport-free zone are applied.

Schulz called the decision a “slap in the face of parliamentary democracy.”

Member states want EU border law monitoring to remain a peer-to-peer exercise. Euro deputies, along with the European Commission, had insisted monitoring move to the EU-level. But the member states' decision would entitle the parliament to observer status only.

“It is without precedent that in the middle of the legislative process, one co-legislative chamber excludes the other,” said Schulz.

Green group leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit said the Parliament would “not take the Council's dirty, anti-democratic tricks on Schengen lying down”.

The Parliament has decided to remove from its July plenary session discussions and votes on Schengen governance.

Discussions scheduled on 21 June in the Parliament’s civil liberties committee on the amendment of the Schengen border code and the convention implementing the Schengen agreement have also been suspended.

It also suspended negotiations scheduled in July on judicial cooperation in criminal matters such as combating attacks against information systems.

Additionally, it is stopping talks on the European investigation order, the 2013 budget on internal security, and the EU passenger name records draft report.

None, say the Parliament, will be resolved until member states reverse their unanimous decision on Schengen.

Schulz spokesperson told EUobserver he could not specify what would happen if governments refuse to budge on their earlier decision. “We are in the start of negotiations,” he said.

For its part, the Danish EU presidency said it regrets the Parliament’s decision but will to continue to work with the institution.

So far member states have been relatively sanguine about parliament's stance.

“I hope the whole discussion will calm down. We don't want to take away any rights from MEPs, so I am sure we'll find a good dialogue,” German interior minister Hans Peter Friedrich told journalists in Berlin.

But he noted the majority of legal experts in the parliament agree with member states' decision to remove MEPs' co-decision power.

A source close to the council told EUobserver said it is unlikely member states will reverse their decision.

MEPs: Schengen row mars Danish EU presidency

Member states' decision to exclude the EU parliament from monitoring the EU's passport free area has blighted the entire Danish EU presidency, MEPs have said.

EU countries struggle to crack Hungary's vetos

Hungary will be in the spotlight on Tuesday as EU governments struggle over suspending EU funds to prime minister Viktor Orbán's government — despite rule of law concerns — and unlock key EU policies which Budapest has been blocking.

Opinion

The military-industrial complex cashing-in on the Ukraine war

From the outset, arms manufacturers eyed this war as a profitable business opportunity. Structural changes took place across the EU, not only to fast-track arms to Ukraine, but also to make more public finance available to the highly-lucrative arms industry.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  4. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  5. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  6. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe

Latest News

  1. EU takes legal action against China over Lithuania
  2. EU Commission shoring up children's rights of same-sex parents
  3. The military-industrial complex cashing-in on the Ukraine war
  4. EU delays Hungary funds decision, as Budapest vetoes Ukraine aid
  5. Borrell gets pension from MEP fund set for taxpayer bailout
  6. Autocrats make us all less secure
  7. Big Agri's lies: green EU farming not to blame for food insecurity
  8. German top court declares €800bn EU recovery fund 'legal'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us