Germany and the European Commission support the establishment of a Schengen Council for the management of the EU Passport Zone.
The European Union’s Schengen area without borders must be governed by regular ministerial meetings, just like the eurozone, French President Emmanuel Macron said in comments backed by Germany and the European Commission.
Concerns about national security, waves of migration and, most recently, the coronavirus pandemic have led to the resumption of border controls in the Schengen area and criticism of how it works, undermining what was hailed as Europe’s ultimate achievement. Integration of the Second War.
Speaking to EU justice and home affairs ministers meeting in northern France, Macron said what he called the “Schengen Council” would assess how the area works, but would also take joint decisions and facilitate coordination during of crisis.
“This council can become the face of a strong, protected Europe that feels comfortable controlling its borders and therefore its destiny,” he said on Wednesday.
His inaugural meeting could take place when EU justice and interior ministers meet on March 3rd, Macron said.
Such a proposal will need the support of other member states of the 27-nation bloc to take effect, although French officials say it will not require a change in EU treaties.
The EU has been deeply divided for years in its response to immigration and how to control Schengen’s external borders, and it remains to be seen how much France can achieve during its six-month presidency of the EU Council of Ministers.
France has also proposed an emergency response mechanism that can be triggered when the bloc’s external borders are threatened and a major reform of EU asylum policies.
Supports the French proposal
On Thursday, Germany and the European Commission backed the creation of the Schengen Council. Other countries have not yet commented.
“Germany will support France’s proposal. It is right and important to work more closely in the Schengen area, “said German Interior Minister Nancy Feiser.
“I very much welcome the proposal for the Schengen Council, we really need to strengthen the political governance of Schengen,” said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ilva Johansson as ministers met to discuss the proposals.
Macron, who is almost certain he will seek re-election as French president in April in a campaign dominated by security and identity issues, said he hopes to win over a number of reluctant EU countries.
“We need to reform Schengen,” he said. “There can be no freedom of movement if we do not control our external borders.
The Schengen area is the largest passport-free zone in the world, allowing unrestricted movement of people between 26 European countries.