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Schengen: EPP Group warns against multibillion Euro invoice for businesses and citizens

Date

21 Apr 2016

Sections

Euro & Finance
Trade & Society

"Bringing back border controls and stopping free movement in the Schengen area would cost businesses and citizens far more than 'just' €230 billion of taxpayers' money", said Andreas Schwab MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee, in anticipation of the presentation of a study investigating the potential costs of the collapse of Schengen as we know it.

In 1985 when the Schengen Agreement was signed, the International Monetary Fund estimated that the abolition of border controls in Europe would add 1 to 3% to the area’s GDP growth. "Thirty years later, the data of this study shows that taking a step back and re-imposing border controls would cost much more than what we expected to gain at the time", underlined the EPP Group MEP.

According to the study, a two-year suspension of Schengen would result in a €51 billion loss, while the cost of the permanent suspension of Schengen could cost up to €230 billion per year. "This is, for instance, nearly the size of six annual GDPs in Bulgaria", highlighted Schwab.

Schwab also stressed that re-imposing border controls would not only affect citizens but also commercial transport. The study shows that the cost of time loss at borders in the case of the closure of Schengen is estimated between €2.5 and €5.1 billion per year. According to some calculations, an extra hour spent waiting at the border would incur a loss of €55 per vehicle, bearing in mind that there are 60 million vehicles which cross at least one European border every year. "This is a one-step recipe for transforming the summer holidays into a nightmare", concluded Schwab.

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