Members of the European Parliament call for the restoration of free movement in the Schengen area, which was violated by border controls because of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a statement on the EP website.
MEPs approved the report, which argues that member states must quickly restore free movement in the Schengen zone.
Noting that certain internal border controls have been in place since 2015, MEPs argue that such checks no longer meet the criteria of proportionality and necessity and are therefore illegal. If necessary, the Commission should also initiate infringement procedures.
The report also calls for the full integration of Bulgaria and Romania into the free movement area, noting that both countries have met the requirements for joining Schengen.
Croatia has also met the requirements, as the Commission noted during its visit to the country in November 2020. However, MEPs are concerned about reports of human rights violations at Croatia’s borders and hope that Croatia will ensure adequate staffing levels at its borders.
Parliament also stresses that reform of the Schengen Border Code is necessary to address the current state of the free movement zone. Although border controls remain the prerogative of member states, new protective mechanisms can ensure that controls are abolished when they are no longer a proportionate response.