European Interest

MEPs discuss how to bring back Schengen

Flickr/Manolo Gómez/CC BY 2.0

European Union member states should “foster mutual trust in the functioning of the Schengen area,” according to the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties committee.

Debating the first annual report on the state of Schengen, the MEPs agreed that mutual trust also demands solidarity, security, judicial and police cooperation in criminal matters, joint protection of EU external borders and policies on migration, visa and asylum policies.

The report, drafted by Carlos Coelho (EPP, PT), addresses main shortcomings in the implementation of the Schengen acquis, progress made in addressing shortcomings and future steps. It was approved by 45 votes to 8, with 3 abstentions.

The MEPs condemned the continued reintroduction of internal border checks. They said the reintroduction of internal border controls are due to shortcomings of the Common European Asylum System, lack of political will, solidarity and responsibility sharing and the Dublin Regulation. Many of the prolongations are not in line with the existing rules, necessity or proportionality and are therefore unlawful, reads the report.

Committee MEPs are concerned about the contribution of human resources and technical equipment to joint operations and the rapid reaction equipment pool, under the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation.

They also note the lack of internal cooperation between the relevant authorities of the member state.

“Schengen means freedom of movement,” said Rapporteur Carlos Coelho. “It is at the core of European citizenship. This report states, for the first time, the views of the European Parliament on the state of Schengen. Unfortunately, the diagnosis is not good. We must bring Schengen back to our citizens. We fully support the efforts of the European Commission, but our message to Member States is just as strong: they need to comply with all the rules, not just those they want.”

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