07 Oct 2020

In the Name of COVID-19

An Assessment of the Schengen Internal Border Controls and Travel Restrictions in the EU

Sergio Carrera / Ngo Chun Luk

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This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, assesses the mobility restrictive measures adopted by the EU and its Member States in the fight against COVID-19. It examines the reintroduction of Schengen internal border controls and intra- and extra-EU travel restrictions. It assesses their compatibility with the Schengen Borders Code, including proportionality, non-discrimination, privacy and free movement. The research demonstrates that policy priorities have moved from a logic of containment to one characterized by a policing approach on intra-EU mobility giving priority to the use of police identity/health checks, interoperable databases and the electronic surveillance of every traveller. It concludes that Schengen is not in ‘crisis’. Instead there has been an ‘EU enforcement and evaluation gap’ of Member States compliance with EU rules in areas falling under EU competence.
This document was requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.