Europe’s border controls could be restored if individual countries persistently fail to protect the bloc’s external frontier. The new curbs unveiled by the EU Commission for the passport-free Schengen zone aim to ease mounting concerns over illegal immigration.
The EU Commissions home affairs chief
Cecilia Malmstrom did not hide the fact that the proposals had resulted from a recent border spat between Paris and Rome.
She said: “Under exceptional circumstances if a country cannot protect their borders that affects all the European Union, then there could be temporary suspension of that border, taken jointly by the member states, but no country can be excluded from Schengen.”
But Brussels appears to have set itself on a collision course with some individual member states. Under the plan they would have to seek approval to keep their borders closed for more than five days.
Euronews’ Audrey Tilve says: ‘‘Europeanising decision making to strengthen the Schengen zone is what the Commission is calling for, but the recent behaviour of France and Denmark clearly show individual member states remain in charge of their borders.’‘
France, Germany and Spain have already rejected the latest idea.
The debate over the EU’s much cherished Schengen zone intensified this year following the influx of immigrants fleeing north Africa.
Denmark also sparked controversy when it also recently closed its borders. Brussels will surely be hoping the new government there is more amenable than its predecessor.