Home Affairs : Schengen Reform: Parliament Strikes Back

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In his 18 years as a member of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz has never seen the institution he now presides take such retaliation measures. All the political groups, with the exception of the ECR Eurosceptics, decided to shelve five texts on justice and home affairs until the Council of Ministers returns the European Parliament's power of co-decision on the entire Schengen reform.

Without going as far as referring the matter to the EU Court of Justice - the Council would first have to adopt a formal decision - Parliament intends with this measure to counter the "unilateral" decision by the 27 justice ministers to do without their legal agreement on the new mechanism for evaluating the working of the Schengen area. "No national parliament would agree to being excluded from a legislative procedure," Schulz said in plenary, on 14 June in Strasbourg.

The Danish Presidency is in the EP's sights for having suggested a change in the legal basis of the Commission's initial proposal so as to maintain a Schengen system dominated by the states. In the two reform texts, the Commission proposed to play a decisive role in decisions to reintroduce controls at intra-European borders in order to prevent unilateral national decisions, as illustrated, in early 2011, by the quarrel between Italy and France over the massive arrivals of Tunisian immigrants in Italy.

The five reports concern technical amendments to the Schengen system, cyber crime, the European investigation order, the 2013 budget for internal security policy and the debate on a European storage system for air passenger data. …