EC to Freeze Schengen Membership for Border Security Breaches - Report

Bulgaria in EU | August 23, 2011, Tuesday // 12:34|  views

Bulgarian border checkpoints have been eqiupped with new passport stamps in line with Schengen requirements. Photo by BGNES

Countries which repeatedly fail to guarantee the security of checkpoints at the EU's external borders may be suspended from Schengen for an indefinite period under a draft of the new European Union regulations to be tabled in September.

Apart from that, EC will decide on the re-introduction of border controls at internal borders, according to a publication of Financial Times.

European countries seeking to reimpose border checks within the passport-free area will have to obtain permission from EC for any period longer than five days.

The reintroduction of EU passport checks will be subject to interim monitoring every 30 days and will last up to six months.

A separate mechanism also put forward by the Commission will tighten inspections on checkpoints at the EU's external borders.

Once the EC proposal is issued in September, it will be subject to the approval of the EU Council and the European parliament.

Sources close to the matter have said that Greece, which EU guards to help stem an influx of migrants entering across the land border with Turkey, will most likely be the first target of sich a regime.

The EC proposals are expected to receive the support of members states in Eastern and Southern Europe, many of which border on non-EU countries.

However, the set of draft regulations are most likely to encounter resistance from countries like France, which insist on being able to suspend border-free travel in extraordinary circumstances.

The idea for tightening control within the Schengen area was first proposed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi amid the huge influx of migrants to Europe's shores following the Arab spring.

Tens of thousands of Tunisians entered Italy, continuing to other European countries like France, which sent squadrons of riot police to control its side of the border.

Following a mutual exchange of accusations of breaching the Schengen Agreement, Italy and France united around the idea that the existing rules had to be amended.

According to diplomats familiar with the matter, the introduction of new border controls within the Schengen zone is not likely to happen anytime soon.

In the spring of 2011, however, Denmark unveiled a policy to bolster customs checks at its borders with Germany and Sweden, despite repeated concerns from the Commission that such a move was likely to be in contravention of EU law.

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Tags: Schengen, Schengen Agreeement, immigrant flow, Tunisia, European Commission, European parliament, EU, border control, border checks, border crossing, Berlusconi, Sarkozy


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