EU votes on border checks in the Schengen area

28 November 2018
European Parliament must serve the citizen

“Control of our own borders in exceptional situations is necessary to maintain internal order.” MEP Helga Stevens sees the usefulness of internal border checks in the Schengen area as a temporary measure. On Thursday, the European Parliament will be determining its position regarding a change in the rules. At the same time, Helga Stevens regrets that “a disproportionate influx of illegal migrants” was not added as an additional reason for border checks.

Temporary measure

Internal border checks can be introduced in the case of a serious threat to public order or internal security. The conditions are strict: account must be taken of proportionality and there is a limitation in time. The reintroduction of border checks is therefore an exceptional, temporary measure.

Shortened duration

MEPs are voting on Thursday on a report that significantly shortens the duration of internal border checks compared with the proposal of the European Commission and makes the administrative procedures more onerous. In this way, internal border checks are being made much more difficult. And this while the original proposal of the European Commission was intended to respond to the issues raised by the Member States and provided for extending the maximum duration considerably.

Limiting the impact

“As soon as we are confronted by a threat or by uncontrolled mass migration to our country, we must, immediately and for as long as necessary, be able to invoke the reintroduction of border checks at internal borders. If that is done in a targeted manner, the economic and social impact for our citizens will remain limited,” says Helga Stevens. Sweden, France, Germany and Belgium too have already applied temporary border checks.

Encroachment of sovereignty

MEP Helga Stevens does however regret that “a disproportionate influx of illegal migrants” was not added as an additional reason for border checks. With such an addition, it would be possible to carry out checks at borders if certain Member States do not meet their Dublin or solidarity obligations, even if our security is not imperilled. “The report makes it very difficult for Member States themselves to intervene when the EU or other Member States do not shoulder their responsibility. This is an encroachment of sovereignty and we are therefore voting against it,” Helga Stevens says.

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