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20 Jun 2018

Schengen internal border controls: Council agrees negotiating mandate on the amendment of the Schengen borders code

Schengen internal border controls

On the 19th of June 2018, the EU ambassadors supported a request for negotiations for a proposal to amend the Schengen border code with a temporary reintroduction of internal border controls.

The support was made on behalf of the EU Council and is regarded as a move which will increase border security for the Schengen member states. With the increased security threats, internal border controls would serve to strengthen each country’s border and prevent a crisis.

Internal border controls have been regarded as a last resort move from the EU, so this amendment will only reintroduce them for no longer than one year. In addition to the internal border controls, the amendment includes other safeguards such as consultation mechanisms and risk assessment amongst others.

This proposal for negotiations will not be moving forward unless the EU Commission is also in agreement, and if it is put in place, the Commission will issue an opinion in 6 months.

The Schengen Visa Code was recently introduced and will serve to create better traveling conditions for those who are legitimate travelers, as well as clearer and faster application procedures such as:

  • Allowing travelers to file applications 6 months to 15 days before their trip;
  • Giving the chance to file and sign the application form in an electronic manner;
  • Defining which member states have the authority to process an application if the request is for multiple visits;
  • Defining a more harmonized approach for issuing multiple-entry visas to those with positive visa history and increasing the validity from 1 to 5 years gradually.

Another issue which is expected to be resolved through the amended Schengen Code is the cost of visa processing which is expected to increase to 80 euros. A mechanism to assess these fees every three years is also included.

Finally, the Schengen Border Code allows the EU Commission to continuously assess a third country’s cooperation with their readmission of illegal immigrants. If the third country does not cooperate, it allows the Commission to impose restrictive visa measures in regards to processing and fees.

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