The EU gave the green light to the review of the Schengen area in the face of new threats

The EU gave the green light to the review of the Schengen area in the face of new threats
The EU gave the green light to the review of the Schengen area in the face of new threats

This Friday, the European Union gave the definitive green light to the review of the Schengen Borders Code in order to respond to new threats, such as the use of migrants as a political weapon and to reduce temporary border closures between Member States.

The Council (EU countries) adopted an update to that code which deals with the management of internal and external borders, as well as the rules governing border control of persons crossing the external borders of the EU.

“Reform is essential to make the Schengen area more resilient to present and future crises at its external borders. It also guarantees that people living and traveling in the EU can fully enjoy the benefits of traveling without borders,” said that institution in a statement.

The regulation introduces the possibility of adopting measures at EU level to limit access by third-country nationals in the event of a large-scale public health emergencyas happened during the Covid pandemic.

In particular, in the event of a large-scale public health emergency, the new rules provide the possibility of establishing harmonized temporary travel restrictions at the EU’s external borders.

During the pandemic, the EU was only able to issue non-binding recommendations on travel restrictions.

In addition, testing, quarantine and self-isolation and other health-related measures may be imposed for non-EU citizens entering the EU.


Furthermore, the revised code establishes a procedure that will help address the secondary movements of immigrants (from one Member State to another) and offers solutions to situations of instrumentalization of migration.

In that case, Member States will be offered the possibility of limit the number of border crossings either reduce your opening hours and will allow reinforcing the measures of border surveillance.

Clarifications to the rules on the reintroduction of border controls will ensure that they remain a measure of last resortas specified by the Council.

The revised Schengen Borders Code clarifies the existing framework for the reintroduction and prolongation of internal border controls, which is possible when there is a serious threat to public order or internal security.

Member States must assess the necessity and proportionality of this decision and assess whether the objectives pursued cannot be achieved by other means.

In addition, it establishes the maximum duration during which these controls can be maintained at internal borders.

In this context, internal border controls that have been notified to the Commission, the Member States and the European Parliament before their reintroduction may remain in force for a maximum of two years.

In important exceptional situations, internal border controls may be extended six additional monthsrenewable once for a total duration of one year.

According to the Council, the possibility of using alternative measures, which normally consist of police checks and cross-border cooperation, should encourage Member States to substantially limit the reintroduction of temporary border controls.

These measures must be “clearly differentiated from systematic controls” of people at the external borders.


Furthermore, a new procedure will allow a Member State transfer detained third-country nationals in the border area and who are illegally in its territory to the Member State from which they arrived directly.

The arrest will take place in the context of a framework of bilateral cooperation.

The new legislation will come into force twenty days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

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