The Netherland’s People’s Party for Reform and Democracy (VVD) has suggested that the creation of a “mini-Schengen” within the official Schengen Area should be created to give Member States more authority over their own borders.
The VVD has brought up this possible move because of concerns over large numbers of migrants crossing Schengen borders into The Netherlands from other Member States. According to the VVP, this smaller Schengen Area would allow for individual Member States to close their borders when the number of migrants crossing becomes too high.
Dutch Parliamentarian Bente Becker is leading the initiative within the VVD, which is also The Netherland’s largest political party.
According to Becker, “the risk is great” if large numbers of migrants crossing the border into The Netherlands and subsequently residing there, especially in a time of crisis such as the country has experienced due to COVID-19. In addition, she has stated that a country should not only talk about their border control measures but also back it up.
“We can work on a tougher European refugee system while making a plan to better protect ourselves at times of crisis,” Becker said. “Not every world citizen who wants a safer or better life is welcome in the Netherlands. And we should not only say that, but deal with it, if such a thing should happen.”
Becker has also said that a “mini-Schengen” would be a “more realistic answer” to the migration problems experienced in The Netherlands than a “Nexit,” referring to the possibility of The Netherlands leaving the European Union, such as what the United Kingdom has done with Brexit.
The concerns of migrants crossing illegally into The Netherlands is likely, at least in part, due to the increase of terrorist activity across Europe, particularly in France. The VVD’s concerns are shared by French President Emmanuel Macron, who initially voiced his frustrations with illegal immigration after a series of radical Islamist terrorist attacks in France.
Although the idea of a mini-Schengen Area being established to allow countries to close their borders might sound counterintuitive in principle, in practice it has been observed for months in 2020 within the actual Schengen Area. This is due to COVID-19 shutdowns and border closures to other Member States, although there have been common themes of Member States closing their borders to each other for other reasons as well, in light of COVID-19.
European authorities have yet to publicly respond to Becker or the VVD of their calls for a mini-Schengen, and details of such a plan have not yet been announced.