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14 Dec 2018

EU Court of Justice Rules Passport Checks for Bus Passengers to Germany Are Illegal

EU Court of Justice Rules Passport Checks for Bus Passengers to Germany Are IllegalThe EU Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled on Thursday, December 13, that Germany should stop passport checks for coach transport passengers before entering or leaving the German territory. The decision of the ECJ is based on the Schengen Borders Code, which abolishes border checks between participating countries.

Two coach travel operators called Touring Tours und Travel and Sociedad de Transportes addressed the issue on border checks carried by German authorities at land borders to the German courts, after both were prohibited from operating by the Directorate of the Federal Police in Germany, in 2014.

The Directorate had taken such a decision claiming that the operators had transported to Germany a large number of third-country nationals who were not in possession of the requisite travel documents. Uncertain on the matter, the German courts referred it to the Court of Justice.

However, the highest European Court ruled that the obligation to carry out checks as such is contrary to the Schengen Borders Code.

“In today’s judgment, the Court finds that the Schengen Borders Code precludes the obligation to carry out checks at issue imposed on coach travel operators traveling to Germany and the issuing of orders prohibiting, subject to the imposition of a recurring fine, operators which infringed that obligation from providing any further transport services under the same conditions.”

According to a press release of the ECJ these checks coach travel passengers are carried to make sure that the persons who intend to enter Germany, are actually legally permitted to do so.

“Thus, the purpose of those checks is to prevent passengers from entering German territory if they do not have the requisite travel documents, which is the same as the purpose of the checks carried out by the border police in connection with the crossing of external borders. The triggering event is precisely the crossing of an internal border,” the release reads.

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