France-Italy border row: a shameful ping-pong that puts at risk the free movement of people

Responding to the Commission’s communication on forging a more sustainable migration policy, Liberal and Democrats cautioned against any knee-jerk reaction which failed to address the underlying causes yet put at risk the important achievement of border free movement in Europe.

VERHOFSTADT_90.jpg”Everyone should condemn the way in which Italy and France have dealt with migrants fleeing unrest in North Africa. Their “ping-pong” game has had damaging consequences for Schengen.” said Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament.

“The answer to migration flows should not be a reintroduction of border controls or a change in the Schengen rules.”

“What we need is transparency and accountability: The Commission and Parliament should be involved in the evaluation of the concepts of “public order” inside the Schengen area to prevent unilateral decisions of re-introducing border controls.”

weber_90.jpgALDE Civil Liberties Committee coordinator, Renate Weber (PNL, Romania) said: “So far the Council and Member States’ answers to the migration flows have been disappointing. The reluctance towards the adoption of the asylum and the legal migration packages, and the buck passing attitude of some of the Member States puts at risk one of the principal and most popular achievements of the EU – Schengen and the free movement of people.”

Ms Weber also added: “The current intergovernmental system of peer reviews to ensure the application of Schengen is not sufficient. An EU evaluation mechanism is necessary and we expect the Parliament to supervise it and co-decide on its adoption.”

ludford90.jpg”Free movement is too valuable for both European citizens and economies to sacrifice in a knee-jerk reaction to the current challenges from North Africa.” said ALDE MEP Sarah Ludford (Liberal Democrat, UK) “It is essential that individual Member States fulfil their responsibilities in dealing with numbers of migrants that are not unmanageable, instead of destroying the Schengen zone.”

“The way France and Italy have run around like headless chickens over a relatively small spike in migration shows EU states’ failure, despite a decade of rhetoric, to install a coherent ability to manage inflows.” concluded Ludford.

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