Commission Strikes Back: Schengen Suspension Impossible

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | April 26, 2011, Tuesday // 20:56
Bulgaria: Commission Strikes Back: Schengen Suspension Impossible French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) and Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi (R) have chosen to act out against Schengen just some days after falling out on the issue of accepting refugees from North Africa. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The suspension of the Schengen free movement area is possible only if a EU member state leaves the Union, stated an European Commission representative in the wake of proposals from France and Italy.

Tuesday French President Nicolas Sarkozy met Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome to discuss proposals for amendments to the Schengen agreement that would allow members to reinstall border controls in cases such as the current flood of migrants from North Africa.

Sarkozy and Berlusconi have sent an official letter with their proposals to senior EU officials, including Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

While an official response from EU institutions is still outstanding, EC representative Olivier Bailly diplomatically put into question the controversial proposals, by qualifying them as either impossible or already implemented.

"The Schengen Agreement is part of the European Treaties. One must leave the Union to terminate the force of Schengen," said the EC representative in Brussels Tuesday.

Bailly further clarified that in the existing Schengen Treaty there are actually clauses permitting a certain reinstatement of border controls in special situations such as the current one.

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Tags: European Commission, EC, EU, European Union, Nicolas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy, France, Schengen
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