The Schengen Agreement is not just one of the most important achievement of the EU, but also a key tool for a proper functioning Single Market. Internal border controls and closures have to be the exception to adequately remedy the serious threat to public policy or internal security. However, the European Parliament had to raise questions too often in the recent times about the legality and proportionality of the introduced and extended internal border controls. Member States’ justification based on Covid-19 pandemic as well as on increased levels of migration and/or security threats.
We definitely need a more appropriate Union-level coordination. More targeted restrictions applicable at regional level, including cross-border regions, would have been more appropriate and less intrusive.
The lack of real communication on Member States’ decisions led us to a situation where information on introduced border controls and restrictions were not correctly communicated to citizens and enterprises. The collateral consequences were huge.
The Commission’s responsibility is to exercise appropriate scrutiny over the application of the Schengen acquis, but the Commission also need to be able to provide up-to-date information on Member States’ rules to citizens. In that sense, I also welcome the creation of the ‘Re-open EU’ website.