EU adopts sweeping reforms to change Schengen zone rules

The European Union (EU) has adopted new reforms aimed at amending the rules of the Schengen Area, which comprises 27 countries, including 23 EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. These reforms include clarifying the framework for reintroducing internal border controls and regulating restrictions in cases of health emergencies.

The reforms also aim to strengthen migration control within the Schengen area and counter the exploitation of migrants by some countries for political purposes. According to the reforms, a member state can transfer migrants apprehended in the border area and residing illegally to the member state from which they came, within the framework of bilateral co-operation.

The reforms also allow member states to restrict the number of border crossing points to limit attempts by some countries, such as Belarus and Russia, to use migrant flows as a means of destabilisation. In addition, member states can take strict measures at the European level to limit the entry of third-country nationals in case of major health emergencies, such as imposing medical examinations and quarantines.

These reforms come after the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw inconsistent restrictions imposed at member state level. Under the new rules, the EU Council can impose binding health measures to regulate the movement of travellers.

Internal border controls remain exceptionally authorised in cases of a serious threat to the public order or internal security of a member state, for temporary periods not exceeding six months. However, the new reforms allow this period to be extended to two years, with the possibility of an additional year in cases of emergency.

Member States are obliged to regularly assess the necessity and proportionality of these controls and ensure that there are no other alternatives to achieve the desired objectives.

From the website: Fez News

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