Slovenian minister supports tighter rules on internal border checks

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Luxembourg – The EU interior ministers have reached agreement on a negotiating basis to reform the Schengen Borders Code as part of which the rules when a Schengen member state wants to reintroduce internal border controls would be tightened. Slovenian Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar stressed at Friday’s ministerial that these checks must be temporary.

The agreement, which takes into account the recent ruling of the EU’s Court of Justice, will be the basis for negotiations with the European Parliament.

The court said a Schengen member state may reintroduce controls at its borders only if there is a serious threat to its public order or internal security, but for no more than six months.

If the need for surveillance also exists after two and a half years, a member state will have to notify the European Commission of their intention to extend it.

It will also have to provide reasons for the measure and set a date when it expects to be able to lift the controls.

The Commission will then issue a recommendation, taking into account the principles of urgency and proportionality, which the member state will have to comply with.

Slovenia’s new Minister Bobnar stressed at the meeting in Luxembourg that Slovenia supports in principle the proposal to reform the Schengen Borders Code, according to a press release from the Interior Ministry.

Although Slovenia is not against the reintroduction of internal border controls in principle, it believes that these must be in line with the principles of proportionality and necessity. Above all, internal border controls must be a temporary measure, introduced only when other alternative measures have been exhausted.

“Therefore I cannot support a measure that is not time-limited,” Bobnar was quoted as saying.

She noted that several countries kept internal border controls for many years, which is contrary to the fundamental principle of the Schengen Area and to the EU law.

Austria has been controlling its border with Slovenia ever since the 2015 refugee crisis, with Slovenia arguing that there has been no need for such checks any longer.