EU readying border tightening

by Alister POOLE on May 4, 2011

EU governments across the passport-free Schengen zone are set to be allowed the right to reimpose vital border controls in times when extraordinary flows of immigrants are underway, as part of new European Commission proposals.

The Commission has continually stressed that border checks should only be temporary, which reflects concerns about 25,000 illegal migrants, most of which hailed from Tunisia, that headed for Italy in January.

Currently, threats to a country’s public order are the only thing seen as being a reasonable justification for the need to reimpose border controls. Any rule changes will be discussed by interior ministers next Thursday and might be finalised at June’s EU summit.

Ms Cecili Mamstorem, the EU’s current Home Affairs Commissioner, told how, for the Schengen area to remain stable, it might necessary to temporarily reintroduce of border controls when exceptional circumstances arise.

A Brussels says that the main idea is to ensure that nations failing to police their external frontiers can keep every illegal migrant out of the Schengen zone. The moves comes as parts of broader efforts aimed at reinvigorating EU policies that relate to migration and asylum.

For a number of years now, Europeans across 25 countries in the Schengen zone have enjoyed entirely free movement across borders shared by EU nations for their citizens. On a trade front, the same rule also applies to goods. In the eyes of many, this is regarded as being a signature achievement that neighbouring continents around the rest of the world haven’t yet been able to match.

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