Magazine article European Social Policy

Schengen Reform : Agreement Reached on Governance Package

Magazine article European Social Policy

Schengen Reform : Agreement Reached on Governance Package

Article excerpt

After months of blocking, the European Parliament has had to give up on the power of co-decision it had been after in the reform of the Schengen system (1), which is intended to address potential extraordinary influxes of migrants from outside the EU.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy had called for this reform of the Schengen system. On the evening of 29 May, the Irish Presidency, the EP and the Commission adopted a compromise, which upholds the essentially national aspect of border management within Schengen.

The dossier, which used to be extremely political, had become institutional. In June 2012, the EP got in a rut about a "unilateral" decision by the 27 home affairs ministers of the EU to do without the EP's legal approval on the new mechanism to evaluate the Schengen system. In the end, the member states get final say on the temporary return to border control in the case of predictable events - such as the Football World Cup - and unpredictable events - such as a terrorist threat or attack. The change is, in particular, the introduction of an amendment to the 2001 Schengen Code. In the event of exceptional pressure at the external borders - at the time, the point was to be able to close the borders with Greece, which was the main entry port for illegal migrants - the member states that wish to re-establish intra-European border control will only be able to do so, as a last resort, on the basis of a Commission proposal and a Council recommendation.

Under the agreement, the EP has a right of scrutiny in the evaluation system. …

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