Aktuelles > EM Germany Newsletter CW 48|2020: Schengen in times of the Corona pandemic

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EM Germany Newsletter CW 48|2020: Schengen in times of the Corona pandemic

Border controls make associations hit the alarm” was a headline of the German Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in the beginning of April as the accomplishment of the free movement of persons was halted as the Covid-19 pandemic arose. In spring this year, we, the European Movement Germany, signed to Schengen as the central symbol of the insight that challenges can only be addressed together and not be exiled to the other side of a border.  

Seven months later, Europe finds itself in the midst of a second wave of infections. This time, however, the EU member states have learned a lesson from their failure to solidarise back in April. Actions like the EU-mapping of the health situation, cross-border solidarity in the care of patients, coordination with travel restrictions and the distribution of the vaccine are positive developments in the crisis management.   

As our #EBDGrafik of the week shows, however, the member states started to undermine Schengen long before Covid-19. Even though the Schengen codex does not allow long term border controls, these have become normal in Germany and five other EUmember states since 2015, when millions of refugees sought protection in the EU.

Therefore, it is important to draw a lesson from the pandemic. It does not matter whether it is terrorism, a virus or our responsibility to take in those seeking protection: We cannot address these challenges through border controls but with a value-orientated and coordinated action in Europe. 

Have a nice week – and stay safe!  


Dr. Linn Selle  
President of European Movement Germany

#EBDFocus: Schengen in times of the Corona pandemic

As COVID-19 cases in Europe rose in spring 2020, this did not only pose a challenge to the European health care systems but also to the Schengen area. Founded with the idea of a free movement of people and goods across national borders, 25 years after the implementation of the Schengen Agreement, many states re-introduced inner European border controls. EM Germany president Selle criticised this as portraying a profound and wrong symbol for the European solidarity and the process of finding a solution to this crisis. +++ Border controls in the Schengen area follow clearly defined rules. However, intensified border controls were realized even long before the pandemic, during the refugee crisis 2015. +++ Today the Schengen-area holds 26 states with 400 million inhabitants. +++ 9 months after the re-introduced border controls, the Covid-related situation in Europe continues to escalate. The new #EBDGrafik gives an overview over which borders are currently being controlled and which states are a part of the Schengen area. +++ In 2021 the European Commision plans to publish a strategy on the future of the Schengen-system, in order to respond to current challenges and developments in the Schengen area. Additionally, a Schengen-forum is scheduled for December 13, in which the ministers will discuss possible ways of reforming Schengen. +++ According to the EBD Policy 2020/21 which the General Assembly adopted in October, EM Germany asks to stop the permanent undermining of Schengen and to lift border controls in the Schengen area. +++ EM Germany’s website holds up-to-date news about Schengen from the members ofEM Germany under the respective keyword.

#EBDGrafik of the week

Which countries are included in the Schengen area and at which intra-European borders are controls currently carried out? A new #EBDGrafik provides an overview. | Download

EM Germany news

EM Germany president states her expectations for the video conference of the European Council | With regard to the video conference of the European Council on November 19, EM Germany president Dr. Linn Selle called on the EU heads of state to resolutely confront the obstructive approach of Poland and Hungary on the rule of law. | More (in German)

EMI Federal Assembly pushes for more European democracy – large-scale and small-scale: Instead of the a physical meeting in Berlin, the European Movement International (EMI) held its Federal Assembly online this year to set the course fot the next three years. With Tobias Köck and Sina Frank, both EM Germany candidates made it into the EMI Board. And the Political Priorities of EMI bear many similarities to the one adopted by the EM Germany General Assembly in October. | More (in German) +++ An EMI press release presents all members of the newly elected Board. +++ Have a look at #EMIassemble for all tweets about the Federal Assembly.

Joint statement on the fight against terrorism and second debate on the migration package: EM Germany de-briefing on home affairs council: Besides the ambition to discuss a common migration and asylum policy during the video conference of home affairs ministers on November 13, the focus of the meeting was set on the fight against terrorism due to the recent terrorist attacks in the European Union. As a result of the conference, the 27 member states released a joint statement on these attacks and on solidarity in the fight against terrorism. | More (in German)

Upcoming events

All EM Germany events take place via videoconference. Participation is free, but registration required. Conference language is German unless indicated otherwise. +++ 23.11.2020: EBD De-Briefing European Council +++ 24.11.2020: EBD De-Briefing Rule of Law dialogue in the GAC +++  30.11.2020: EBD De-Briefing COMPET (Research and innovation) ++ 02.12.2020: EBD De-Briefing ECOFIN and Eurogroup +++ 04.12.2020: EBD international briefing with Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe +++ 08.12.2020: EBD De-Briefing Justice +++ 14.12.2020: EBD De-Briefing European Council (with simultaneous translation into English and Italien) +++ Our Presidency Calendar on the German EU Council Presidency is online – in the traditional six-month format (scroll to page 2), but also for 2020. We’re continuously updating this new monthly format with events as they evolve –  the A4 size allows for easy printing at your office (wherever it’s situated). The November edition of the calendar is available now.

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