21 JUN 2011
By Valentina Pop
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso indicated Monday that he would support the reintroduction of temporary border controls so long as such decisions are taken at the EU level and not unilaterally.
Establishing rules for an EU decision-making mechanism on the reintroduction of temporary border controls would "reinforce mutual trust" and reduce "unilateral" measures by member states, he said in a letter to the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, ahead of an EU summit later this week.
While insisting that the commission "will not hesitate" to act against any measures threatening freedom of movement within the EU - an oblique reference to plans by Denmark to put permanent customs checks in place on its borders with Sweden and Germany - Barroso did concede that member states need clearer rules than the ones currently included in the Schengen code.
In his view, the solution is a "community-based" mechanism allowing for a decision "at European level" on the reintroduction of short-term internal border controls when a country is under extreme migratory pressure or fails to secure a part of EU's external borders.
Such a mechanism - with the commission playing a central role - "would further reinforce mutual trust and also reduce the need for recourse to unilateral initiatives by member states," Barroso argues.
But EU diplomats are sceptical about member states' appetite for having the EU commission involved in any decision regarding their national borders. "We don't know what community-based means. It could be that the commission reports and the council [of ministers] decides. But first we need concrete proposals," one EU source told this website.
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