Parliamentary Question: Suspension by Portugal of the Schengen Treaty during the NATO Summit

Marietje

Parliamentary questions

14 December 2010 E-010323/2010 Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 117 Sophia in 't Veld (ALDE) , Renate Weber (ALDE) , Marietje Schaake (ALDE) , Alexander Alvaro (ALDE) , Louis Michel (ALDE) , Sonia Alfano (ALDE) , Nadja Hirsch (ALDE) and Baroness Sarah Ludford (ALDE) Subject: Suspension by Portugal of the Schengen Treaty during the NATO Summit On Tuesday 26 November 2010, Portugal suspended the Schengen Treaty provisions on the free circulation of citizens and reinstalled border checks so as to keep anti-NATO demonstrators out of the country. The Schengen agreement allows a Member State to suspend the Schengen provisions when special events are due to be held, and provided that the Member State complies with a set of very specific rules stated in Chapter II of the Schengen Borders Code (Articles 23 to 31 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders). Article 27 in particular states that the European Parliament should be informed as soon as possible about any suspension of the Schengen provisions. So far the European Parliament has not received any information. Can the Commission commit itself to informing Parliament without delay, in particular as this restriction of free movement is also intended to restrict freedom of speech and freedom of assembly? Moreover, as appears in the 13 October 2010 report from the Commission to the Parliament and the Council on the application of the Schengen Borders Code, there is an increasing trend in the Member States to refer to Articles 23 to 31. Three cases were notified in 2006, nine in 2009. Some Member States, in particular France, frequently make use of these articles. The reasons invoked by the Member States range from a religious visit (the Maltese Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs reintroduced border checks from 5 to 18 April 2010 because of security concerns in connection with the visit of Pope Benedict XVI) to international summits. Can the Commission commit itself to firmly reminding the Member States that the free circulation of citizens is an EU core value that should not be debased, and that the Member States should not depart from this principle without imperative reasons? Please find the answer here.