The European Parliament today restated its strong opposition to the extension of temporary borders within the Schengen passport free zone. MEPs backed a report that makes clear that temporary current border controls that were reintroduced by six countries during the refugee crisis are no longer justified and should be removed as soon as possible. The report also outlines clearer rules on under which circumstances border controls can be reintroduced in the future and places stricter time limits on how long they can last.
S&D MEPs stressed their disappointment with national government’s refusal to reach an agreement on such an important issue for Europe.
S&D Group vice-president and Parliament negotiator for the revision of the temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders, Tanja Fajon said:
“The Schengen area is one of Europe’s greatest successes. For a continent that spent much of the last century separated by walls and fences, the ability to travel freely without being subject to checks or controls is a symbol of progress. It makes our lives easier and significantly boosts our economies. We cannot allow this achievement to be lost and retreat behind national borders. Controls that were introduced almost four years ago are still in place, with no sign that they will be ended soon. These internal border checks clearly violate EU law and should be abolished as soon as possible.
“I am disappointed by the intransience of national governments who refused to agree to these proposals to ensure Schengen can function effectively. We wanted to ensure that in the future temporary internal border controls would last for a maximum period of one year and would have stricter safeguards to ensure that they are used solely for the purpose they were originally introduced.
“We will not allow Europe to go back to the pre-Schengen days of walls, fences, and long passport queues. Freedom of movement is the cornerstone of the EU and we will never stop fighting to protect it.”