Schengen: temporary internal border controls to be replaced with intensified police checks "across the entire territory"
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The Council of the EU has begun to discuss ways to implement the European Commission's May 2017 recommendation for Member States to "intensify police checks across the entire territory, including in border areas," in the hope that the authorities "give precedence to police checks before deciding on the temporary reintroduction of border controls."
In a note from the Maltese Presidency of the Council sent to the Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI), three priorities are mentioned:
- Strengthening cross-border police cooperation on the basis of the 2008 Prüm Decision (Council Decision 2008/615/JHA), which "provides for the conditions and procedures for stepping up cross-border police cooperation by means of joint patrols and other joint operation," of which it is noted: "Probably due to the ad hoc character of these other forms of cooperation, the practical aspects of cooperation and the preparedness of Member States for such cooperation have not been the subject of discussions within any Council Working Party";
- Strengthening cooperation between Police and Customs Cooperation Centre (PCCCs): "Currently, 59 bi- or multilateral PCCCs exist, which assist competent law enforcement authorities through information exchange in cases affecting border regions. Improving the functioning of PCCCs is regularly discussed in the framework of the Information Management Strategy (IMS) within DAPIX in order to enhance their European dimension, in particular with regard to cases beyond petty crime";
- Hot pursuits and other cross-border tools: "possible ways forward may include enhanced training (such as in languages or on applicable legal regimes), regular contacts to build mutual trust and work on technical compatibility between the police forces involved (radio communication, use of GPS to trace intervening officers on host territory, etc.)," and "wider use of joint patrols in border areas may be of particular relevance".
The note proposes that a number of tasks in relation to these priorities be taken up by two Council working parties, the Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP) and the Working Party on Data Protection and Information Exchange (DAPIX). Results are expected by the end of September 2017; the note is due to be discussed in a COSI meeting today (20 June 2017, pdf).
See: Council of the EU: NOTE from: Presidency to: COSI: Commission Recommendation on proportionate police checks and police cooperation in the Schengen area - orientation debate (10312/17, LIMITE, 15 June 2017, pdf)
And the Commission Recommendation on proportionate police checks and police cooperation in the Schengen area (C(2017 3349 final, 12 May 2017, pdf)
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