EU auditors say Schengen restrictions for travel badly enforced during pandemic

EU auditors highlight poor enforcement of Schengen restrictions during the pandemic, revealing a lack of coordination among member states. The European Court of Auditors (ECA) criticizes the supervision of internal border controls, raising concerns about the adherence to Schengen rules. Findings indicate that border control notifications lacked sufficient evidence of being a last resort and proportional measure.

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Auditors for the EU on Monday said that the executive arm of the bloc should have checked more carefully the applied restrictions on free movement that were put into place by EU nations during the coronavirus pandemic. 


The EU nations clearly struggled to properly coordinate restrictions on travel during the pandemic which claimed over 6.3 million people over the world. This happened because the EU nations were trying to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted flow of people as well as goods. 

Besides EU countries, except Croatia, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania, non-EU nations like Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are a part of the Schengen agreement. 

However, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) disagreed, saying that the supervision of the bloc’s internal controls on borders since March of 2020 did not safeguard the Schengen rules. 

Under the Schengen rules, nations are empowered to conduct border checks if they think that there is a threat to national security. The ECA further said that it had reviewed all of the 150 notifications of the internal border controls that were submitted to the EC in the time period between March 2020 and June 2021. Out of these, 135 were exclusively COVID-19 related. 

Auditors said that the review shows clearly that the notifications that were provided did not have sufficient evidence to show that border controls were a last resort, or that they were limited and proportional in nature. 

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