BRUSSELS, April 24 (KUNA) -- The European Parliament has adopted on Wednesday a reformed Schengen Borders Code.
The reform, adopted by the plenary with 311 votes in favor, 267 against, and 53 abstentions, aims to strengthen free movement within the Schengen area, clarify rules, and reduce the amount of temporary reinstated border controls inside the zone, said the Parliament in a press release.
Under the new rules, Schengen states can respond to a serious threat to public policy or internal security, such as terrorism, organized crime, or sudden large-scale unauthorized movements of third-country nationals.
In the case of a public health emergency that concerns several members at a time, and puts at risk the functioning of the entire Schengen area, the Commission can authorize border controls in several states for six months.
Before deciding to re-introduce border controls, the member state needs to assess the effectiveness, proportionality and side effects of such a decision, and after six months, draw up a risk assessment. As an alternative to border controls, the new rules would promote police cooperation in border regions. Where third-country nationals with irregular status are apprehended during joint patrols and there is evidence they have arrived directly from another EU country, these people may be transferred to the other EU country if they participate in joint patrols. In negotiations, MPs successfully pushed for additional safeguards for transferring minors, whose best interests need to be considered by both parties to the transfer.
The provisional agreement still needs to be formally approved by the Council. Once published in the EU's Official Journal, it will enter into force twenty days later. (end) htms.aa