EU commission acts to protect Schengen Agreement

September 8, 2011

Under proposed plans from the European Commission, countries in the Schengen agreement would not be allowed to limit freedom of movement without approval from the commission.

The Schengen system covers 22 countries in the EU, including France, Italy and Germany and allows freedom of movement without passports across this zone.

Recently, members of the agreement have been pushing for greater authority to be able to limit the people travelling through their borders.  Earlier this year, France reintroduced border controls to prevent immigrants arriving from Italy, and Denmark followed suit by re-erecting border and customs checks on its borders with Germany and Sweden,

Under the proposed reforms, the commission as well as a majority of other EU governments would decide when a country can re-introduce border controls.

The spokesperson for Cecilia Malmstr√∂m (commissioner for home affairs), said on Tuesday that Schengen ‘is one of the most important achievements and the commission is determined to defend it. At the moment an area of common interest is governed by individual decisions. This has to be changed.’

The proposals are likely to enjoy support in the European parliament and among many EU governments who were alarmed by the attempts from various countries to stem free movement across their borders.

However, we envisage that the commission”s plans will face strong opposition from countries such as France and Germany, who are seeking to challenge it.