Presentation of CEPS study at high-level Schengen hearing at the European Parliament

The European Parliament is increasingly concerned about the future of the Schengen area, particularly in light of the fact that five member countries – Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway and Denmark – have continued the internal border controls they introduced in September 2015. The EP Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs organised a high-level hearing on October 12th, to discuss the unprecedented extensions under Article 29 of the Schengen Borders Code, which are due to expire in November 2016. The hearing focused on several important and timely questions: What are the legal and policy developments in this area and when will the internal border-free area – one of the EU’s main achievements – be fully restored? In his speech, “Back to Schengen”, Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos did not provide particularly clear answers, as the Commission is calling to lift intra-EU border controls at the same time that it takes a lenient stance towards those member states that want to keep such controls due to a fear of ‘secondary movements’ from asylum seekers. The Slovak Presidency, represented by the Minister of Interior, Robert Kaliňák, was more ambitious, insisting on the observance of EU law, on the grounds that the Schengen area was too valuable to allow it to be politicised. Lina Vosyliūtė, researcher at CEPS, presented a study entitled “Internal border controls in the Schengen area: Is Schengen crisis-proof?”, commissioned by the Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs. The legal and policy analysis confirmed that the Schengen legislative package is both fit for purpose and is crisis proof, but there is a need for better implementation. The study put forward recommendations for the European Commission and Parliament to more effectively play their respective roles in ensuring compliance with EU law and increasing democratic accountability vis-à-vis the Schengen acquis.

More information about the hearing:

EP LIBE hearing video: