European Commission President: Schengen is in a coma and must be resurrected or a united Europe is meaningless
The Schengen system of freedom of movement has fallen into a coma after the terrorist attacks and because of the migration crisis, which is why it is necessary to resurrect it once more. That was the message of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as he addressed a plenary session of the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg today.
Juncker warned that if Schengen falls, a united Europe will cease to be meaningful. "We must keep the spirit of Schengen alive," he challenged the EP.
The Commission President's declaration was primarily aimed at those Member States whom he believes must live up to their obligations to protect the external borders of the EU bloc. Juncker reminded the legislators that the European Commission and the EU Member States are preparing many measures to arrange for greater security in light of the threat of terrorism.
He also said one way would be to introduce into practice the sharing of lists of air passengers' names not just for flights leaving the Schengen area, but also for flights within Europe. "There are certain (controversial) questions that must be answered and there are reasons for doing this," Juncker said.
Previously such air passenger lists have been repeatedly discussed as controversial and problematic in the context of safeguarding human freedoms. Juncker also said the terrorist attacks in France carried out by Islamist radicals, many of whom were European citizens, are leading states and people to blame refugees for them.
"Those who committed these crimes are in league with those who are forcing refugees to leave their homes," he said. He repeatedly warned that asylum-seekers and terrorists are not the same and that people should not generalize about them as if they were.
Juncker also reiterated that all of Europe is behind France. "So many lives have been wasted, so many dreams unfulfilled, so many journeys not completed," he said of the assassinations in Paris that claimed the lives of 130 victims and injured more than 350.
"Vive la France! That republic is our republic too," he declared.
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