02 December, 2015
HANDS-OFF SCHENGEN! EUROPEAN FEDERALISTS CALL FOR EU COMMON BORDER FORCES, EU INTELLIGENCE, NEW SINGLE ASYLUM POLICY AND EU TREATY CHANGE
The Federal Committee of the Union of European Federalists, chaired by Mr Elmar Brok (MEP, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament), met in Venice on 27-28 November 2015.

The European Federalists denounce recent attempts by national governments to roll-back the Schengen Agreement enabling the free movement of people without border controls. Schengen is one of the main and most visible achievements of European integration and should not be put into question. Its weakening would endanger the existence of the single market and Europe‚Äôs growth and development prospects while offering no additional protection for European citizens. The challenges of terrorism, internal security and migratory flows are not reasons to re-instate border controls, or even worse to re-erect national borders and limit the circulation of people within the European Union,  in the mistaken belief that Europe would be safer within national borders protected by national police forces. On the contrary, these challenges are exactly the reasons to deepen the Schengen Agreement and to step-up European integration in the fields of EU external border management, police and intelligence cooperation and asylum and migration policy. In the face of borderless terrorism and migratory flows of historic proportions, it is the illusion of national sovereignty by 28 divided Member States that is endangering European security and prosperity. Further European political integration is the only answer.

On the threats to internal security, the European Federalists underline that the most effective way in which Europeans can respond to the violence of extremists is to strengthen our own capacity to stand united and act as one. The Schengen system should be strengthened through the joint control of external EU borders and the development of an effective and truly European intelligence force, in order to overcome the mere coordination of national agencies and bodies, to ensure that information on potential threats is exchanged promptly among Member States, and to enable European operations by real European forces when facing European threats.

On the challenges of migration and refugees, the European Federalists call on Member States to return to cooperation and to establish European policies. In particular, for the establishment of a European Border Protection Service able to manage the European common borders replacing national controls that have become ineffective in many Member States. The UEF also calls for a European Asylum Authority able to administer a single European asylum policy, the adoption of common rules for issuing humanitarian visas, the establishment of EU asylum offices in third countries for strengthening legal routes of entry for people in need of international protection, an ambitious legal migration policy reflecting the long term economic and demographic challenges faced by the EU and effective mechanisms to share the burden of all arrivals among Member States, scaling up the current European Commission Agenda on Migration. The EU must also develop a strategy for dealing with the causes and sources of refugee flows from the Middle East, Libya and other African countries using all existing options and instruments in the fields of humanitarian and development aid, trade policy, investment promotion and political-diplomatic initiatives.

The UEF stresses that the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union, overshadowed by other crises in recent months, remains urgent. There should be no delay nor any dilution in the plans to complete the Banking Union and implement a Capital Markets Union. Most of all the development of instruments and resources for a European economic policy, able to promote growth and employment at European level and provide incentives for structural reforms at national level for a more competitive European economy, must be accelerated. The creation of a dedicated Eurozone budget, funded with own resources, is a priority,

On the debate on Brexit and the demands of the British Government, the European Federalists believe that the occasion should be used to clarify that two different categories of members could exist within the EU: one participating only in the Single Market and certain other policies on the one hand and a core of integration, comprising the States sharing the single currency, on the other. The completion of the Economic and Monetary Union and the negotiations with UK are part of the same process of building an effective Union.

The European Federalists call for a revision of the EU Treaties and urge the European Parliament to elaborate on a proposal for Treaty change which provides for the completion and democratisation of the Economic and Monetary Union and the settlement of the relations with non-euro Member States.


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