EU Approves Reformed Schengen Code

by Roman Cheplyk
Friday, May 24, 2024
EU Approves Reformed Schengen Code

On May 24, the Council of the European Union officially approved the updated Schengen Borders Code

This revised code comprises a comprehensive set of EU rules for managing internal and external borders and regulating the border control of individuals crossing the EU's external borders.

Key Updates in the Schengen Borders Code:

  1. Public Health Emergencies:

    • The new rules allow for the introduction of agreed temporary restrictions on the EU's external borders in the event of a large-scale public health emergency, as decided by the Council of the EU.
    • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU could only issue non-binding travel restriction recommendations. Now, the Council can impose testing, quarantine, self-isolation, and other health-related measures for non-EU nationals entering the EU.
  2. Combatting Migration Instrumentalization:

    • Member states can limit the number of border crossing points or reduce their opening hours and enhance border surveillance measures to address the instrumentalization of migration.
  3. Internal Border Controls:

    • The revised code clarifies the framework for reintroducing and continuing internal border controls in the event of a serious threat to public policy or internal security.
    • Member states must assess the necessity and proportionality of such controls and determine if objectives can be achieved through other means.
    • Internal border controls can remain in place for a maximum of two years, with possible extensions for exceptional situations totaling up to one additional year.
  4. Alternative Measures and Cross-Border Cooperation:

    • The revised regulation encourages member states to limit the reintroduction of temporary border controls by promoting alternative measures such as police checks and cross-border cooperation.
  5. Transfer Procedure:

    • A new transfer procedure allows a member state to transfer third-country nationals detained in a border zone who are illegally present on its territory to the member state from which they directly arrived.

Implementation and Publication:

  • The regulation will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and will be directly applicable in EU countries.

The proposal to reform the Schengen Code was initially presented by the European Commission on December 14, 2021. Additionally, in May, the EU decided to increase the prices of Schengen visas due to inflation.

These updates aim to enhance the EU's ability to manage borders effectively, respond to public health crises, and maintain security while fostering cooperation among member states.

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