Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement today in Berlin on European Commission proposals for reforming Schengen area border controls:
“In light of current developments in the Schengen area, the European Council mandated the EU Commission in June 2011 to present proposals for reforming the Schengen border system. These proposals have now been developed, and comprise a comprehensive package including recommendations for strengthening the legal framework for the Schengen area. The German Government would like to express its gratitude for the prompt introduction of proposals.
We welcome the fact that the proposals will strengthen shared responsibility for the unchecked internal borders of the Schengen area in order to intensify trustful cooperation within the Schengen area. We must strive to preserve the precious commodity of freedom of movement within the Schengen area as one of the key elements of European integration. It is necessary to closely involve the EU Commission, which as a guardian of the treaties acts in accordance with the principles of transparency and objectivity. Various models are conceivable.
Maintaining public order and safeguarding internal security are matters for the member states, which bear political responsibility in these areas.
We will now thoroughly review the Commission’s proposals and will – together with our partners – prepare ourselves for the negotiations in Brussels. The task now is to find a solution which both guarantees freedom of travel and safeguards security interests.”