Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Europe launches navigation satellites to rival GPS

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Iraqi Sunnis quit govt talks after mosque massacre

    Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rights group sues US government over ‘deportation mill’

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels begin work on ceasefire

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Missouri town

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Europe

Brussels seeks greater say in EU border control

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-16

The European Commission has unveiled draft legislation that would prevent members of Europe’s passport-free travel area from unilaterally reinstating border controls for more than five consecutive days.

AFP - The European Commission launched a bid Friday to oversee any return of border checks in Europe's passport-free travel area, despite opposition from nations refusing to hand Brussels such powers.

Beloved by travellers who can enjoy unfettered trips across Europe, the 25-nation Schengen zone faces an overhaul after changes were demanded by several EU states worried about sudden waves of immigration during the Arab Spring.

The European Commission unveiled draft legislation that would give it a big say in the reintroduction of border controls and prevent unilateral decisions, a proposal that France, Germany and Spain have already rejected.

"With these proposals we are safeguarding the future of Schengen," said EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem.

"By reinforcing its European dimension we are protecting one of the most cherished achievements of the EU: the free movement of our citizens," she said.

The commission's proposal would still allow governments to reinstate patrols in urgent situations unilaterally, but only for a five-day period.

For longer periods, countries would need a green light from the EU's executive arm and all other bloc nations -- the condition that irked Paris, Berlin and Madrid.

At the moment, governments are allowed to deploy border guards unilaterally during terror threats or major events such as football games or summits, but countries are seeking more leeway to restore controls.

The commission's proposal, which must be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament, would allow the reintroduction of border controls if an unexpected migration surge threatens public order.

And if a Schengen nation is deemed to have repeatedly failed to control its frontiers with non-EU countries, it could be temporarily excluded from the borderless area, as a last resort.

While the commission did not point the finger at a particular country, Greece has been under pressure to improve the situation at its porous border with Turkey.

The EU Parliament's Socialist bloc welcomed the move to prevent unilateral border closures but voiced concern about the idea of isolating Schengen nations that struggle to prevent illegal migration.

"European governments cannot expect the EU to authorise them to seal their internal borders whenever they are faced with a concentrated influx of migrants from third countries," said Socialist Euro MP Claude Moraes.

"Migration is not a national threat but a challenge which requires a common approach and solidarity at EU level," Moraes said.

A cornerstone of European integration, the 25-nation Schengen area faced controversy during the Arab Spring when Europe's Mediterranean nations voiced fears of seeing waves of illegal migrants on their shores.

France and Italy traded barbs when Rome handed out temporary papers to thousands of Tunisian migrants, enabling them to head for France. Paris in response sent border guards and stopped trains on the border with Italy.

Over the summer, Denmark faced criticism from Brussels when it unilaterally decided to deploy permanent customs controls at its German and Swedish borders, though this measure is likely to be watered down following Thursday's election defeat of the centre-right government by a centre-left bloc.
 

Date created : 2011-09-16

  • IMMIGRATION

    EU members bicker about internal border controls

    Read more

  • EUROPEAN UNION

    EU moves to reinstate border controls

    Read more

  • FRANCE - ITALY

    Migrant spat puts strain on EU open borders

    Read more

COMMENT(S)