Members of the European Parliament’s Commission on Civil Liberties made it clear on Monday evening that they wanted to reduce the exemptions that currently allow six member States to conduct checks at internal borders within the Schengen area. This exceptional exemption limiting free movement of people will now have to be reduced to one year instead of the current two, the parliamentarians said, while the initial period for border checks linked to foreseeable events will be reduced from the present six months to two months.
Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway currently conduct checks at internal borders within the European Union (EU) due to exceptional circumstances resulting from the 2015 migration crisis. France instituted similar controls at its borders with fellow EU countries because of the persistent terrorist threat.
The checks have been in place for over three years, despite a maximum authorized period of two and a half years, which makes them illegal.
About 10 days ago, the European Commission called on the States concerned to end the checks.
The Euro-parliamentarians said countries that carry out such checks would have to explain to what extent alternative measures have failed and how the checks would help deal with the threat identified.
Prolonging the checks beyond six months would require an advisory from the European Commission and would have to be authorized by the EU Council of Ministers.
The full European Parliament still has to decide on the mandate for engaging in informal negotiations with the EU ministers.
The Brussels Times