German Chancellor Angel Merkel has begun to embrace border reforms, echoing the statements made by France’s President Emmanuel Macron, according to a statement made by Merkel to the press this week.
The border reforms are in response to a series of terrorist attacks across France and other countries.
Border reforms could indicate changes to the way that people can cross Schengen borders, which is supposed to include free movement across borders within the Schengen area, according to the Schengen Agreement of 1985.
“I want to mention the entry-exit system in the Schengen area, which should be ready in 2022,” Merkel said after a meeting with other Schengen and European Union leaders on Tuesday, 10 November 2020. “It is vitally necessary to know who comes in and who leaves the Schengen area.”
The meeting, which was hosted by France’s Macron, also included new statements by Macron on the issue, who said that Europe needs “rapid and coordinated” responses to tighten controls and on external EU borders.
“We can only preserve it [Schengen] if we urgently, urgently focus on the external borders,” Macron said.
Macron also said that there was “misuse” of Europe’s asylum laws that enable people of third countries affected by governmental tyranny and war to flee to the EU for refuge.
“In all of our countries we are witnessing a misuse of the right to asylum,” Macron said.
Macron has been calling for tighter border regulations since October 2020, in response to terrorist attacks carried out by radical Islamists within France and other Schengen/EU Member States.
The calls for reform to the Schengen Agreement of 1985 come at the heels of the COVID-19 crisis, which had effectively caused Member States to close off their borders to each other in response.
Border closures have been completely uncoordinated, as some Member States have remained open to each other while most have closed their borders to each other at some point in time.
Currently, there is no unified action between Member States to try and coordinate and standardize all COVID-19 responses within the Schengen Area or EU.
When Member States first started closing their borders to each other, Macron had said that it would be the “death of Schengen.”
Specific plans for further measures or reform to border control at external EU borders have not yet been announced, however, Macron is expected to release new reforms next month at the EU Summit in December 2020.