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EU/Schengen governance

Published on September 13, 2011
Future proposals by the European Commission to strengthen Schengen Area governance – Joint communiqué issued by Claude Guéant, Minister of the Interior, Overseas France, Local Authorities and Immigration, Hans-Peter Friedrich, Federal Minister of the Interior of Germany, and Antonio Camacho, Interior Minister of Spain¹

September 13 , 2011

We would like to thank the European Commission for rapidly responding to the request by the European Council of June 2011 by presenting comprehensive proposals for strengthening Schengen governance.

Strengthening Schengen governance in case a member state is no longer able to comply with its obligations under the Schengen rules is an important and shared concern and a mechanism should be introduced to respond to exceptional circumstances putting the overall functioning of Schengen cooperation at risk. We need a new mechanism which both rapidly remedies and permanently removes existing deficits with the help of the European level and the member states, and which includes a safeguard clause allowing checks at the internal borders to be temporarily reintroduced as a very last resort.

However, under its proposal, the European Commission would assume responsibility for deciding whether to reintroduce temporary checks at the internal borders not only in the above-mentioned case but in general, a decision which until now has been within the national sovereignty of the member states, for example in case of terrorist threat or to protect major sport and political events.

We believe that respecting the core area of national sovereignty is very important to the member states. We therefore do not share the European Commission’s views on assuming responsibility for making decisions on operational measures in the security field.

The member states have the political responsibility for maintaining public order and protecting internal security. In doing so, it is essential to minimize the impact of intervention, with a view to ensuring freedom of movement, as far as possible while providing the highest level of protection for the public.

The decision whether to reintroduce temporary checks at the internal borders is based on an intensive assessment of the national security situation, which can only be carried out by the member states on the basis of the expertise and resources of their security authorities./.
¹Source of English text: French Interior Ministry.

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