Debate about reintroduction of internal border controls in the EU: The EU-Commission wants to take the decisions itself

Will there be again border guards at the internal EU borders? France and Denmark have temporarily recovered their border control guards. Now the EU-commission has made a proposal for the reintroduction of internal border controls under specific circumstances and preconditions.

According to the proposal of the 16th of September, decisions on the reintroduction of internal border controls at specific European borders should be made by the commission in the near future and not by the member states themselves. Germany, Spain and France already announced their disagreement. While the commission wants to hinder the solo of EU-member states, these insist on the national sovereignty rights.
The initiative of the commission grew out of a hot debate, which had started earlier this year when France (April) and Denmark (July) had introduced internal border controls to prevent the immigration of 20.000 Tunesians, which had arrived earlier to Italy. Italy had granted them residence permits with the possibility to travel inside the Schengen Area under specific preconditions. The populist argument of the two EU-nations was that “there was a danger of a immigration wave”.
The commissions’ proposals will ensure that “a mechanism for a coordinated EU response is available to protect the functioning and the integrity of the Schengen area as a whole.” Under the new regime, a decision on the reintroduction of internal border controls for foreseeable events (such as an important sporting event or a major political meeting) would be taken at the European level. The grounds on which such a decision could be taken will remain the same as today: that the measure is necessary in order to off-set a “serious threat to public policy and internal security”. As a general rule, controls could then be allowed at designated borders for a renewable period of 30 days.

Member States could still take unilateral action to reintroduce controls when they are faced with unforeseen emergencies requiring immediate action, but only for a period not exceeding 5 days, after which an EU-level decision would be taken allowing for any extension.

In case of serious deficiencies in the application of the Schengen rules, such as if a Member State fails to adequately protect a part of the EU’s external border, support measures including technical and financial support from the Commission, from Member States, from FRONTEX or other agencies like Europol or the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), can be taken. If, however, notwithstanding these support measures, serious deficiencies persist, a decision to allow a temporary reintroduction of internal border controls can be taken. Any such last resort measure would be taken at the EU level, thereby avoiding unilateral decisions by individual Member States and establishing a collective approach to protect our common interests.