A deal on the long-awaited reform of the Schengen Border Code was reached between the European Parliament and the Council today, laying down the new rules to govern the controls at the EU's internal and external borders.
The questionable legal grounds for the reintroduction of internal border controls in a number of Members states since 2015 as well as the uncoordinated border response by national governments during the COVID-19 pandemic showed the need for updated rules. Within the new framework, the EU will now have a clearer, more transparent Schengen border code, ensuring a coherent EU response to different challenges at its external borders, while preserving the EU's free movement, as it is one of the greatest achievements of European integration.
The new instruments agreed upon by co-legislators include a coordination mechanism in case of a threat to public health, mitigating measures to limit the impact on the Single Market as well as procedure for internal Schengen transfers as an alternative to the reintroduction of border controls.
Renew Europe played an instrumental role in paving the way to enabling the deal and fought to ensure that the reintroduction of border controls are strictly limited in time, targeted and subject to thorough justification.
Malik Azmani (VVD, Netherlands), the Renew Europe group's negotiator on the Schengen Borders Code, said:
”European citizen's ability to freely move across our continent without border controls is one of the EU’s greatest successes, bringing us closer and boosting our economies. However, the Schengen area of free movement came under pressure from various threats in recent years, such as the migration crisis and terrorism. Also the Covid-19 pandemic, showing an uncoordinated response by national governments, made clear why new rules governing the Schengen area are highly needed.
The updated and modernised framework will boost Schengen’s resilience for today and tomorrow’s challenges. Thanks to the Renew Europe group, the European Commission and Member States will have more tools to secure the Schengen area, both internally and externally.”