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Current breaches of Schengen rules show the need for an EU evaluation mechanism


05 Jul 2012


Justice & Home Affairs

Following the decision of Justice and Home Affairs ministers on 7 June 2012 to unilaterally change the legal base of the new Schengen Evaluation Mechanism in order to exclude Parliament from its co-legislative role, the European Parliament held today a debate with the Council and Commission on the "breaches of Schengen rules" to highlight the need for a EU driven mechanism based on the community method.

ALDE MEP Renate Weber (PNL, Romania), EP rapporteur on ne of the two Schengen governance proposals, said: "Schengen lacks good governance structures. This is why the Commission proposed a legislative package to improve the situation. But if the Commission remains reluctant to start infringement procedures, we are afraid we will wake up one day realising that free movement no longer exists". Indeed, as Mrs Weber recalled, in the last 18 months there have been too many attempts, and worse in some cases achieved, to apply Schengen rules in a much more personalized and dangerous manner.

ALDE MEP Sarah Ludford (Lib Dems, UK) ALDE spokesperson on the Schengen evaluation mechanism, stressing that, as a UK citizen, she does not currently enjoy passport-free travel but hopes to one day, said: "Internal border checks do not play a major role in catching major criminals or even terrorists. What is needed for that purpose is not populist moves designed to impress voters that irregular migration has been curbed but strongly cooperative intelligence-led policing as well as well-managed external borders".

ALDE MEP Sophie in't Veld (D66, The Netherlands), vice President of the Civil Liberties Committee said: "Schengen is not a dream of idealists, but a reality that must be protected. If eleven cases of breach have emerged it is clear that Schengen is coming under great pressure. The Commission must closely monitor the compliance of Schengen rules not only to the letter but also in the spirit of free movement".

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