The Paris attacks of January 2015 gave rise to an emotion shared by millions of Europeans, while fuelling some doubts on their ability to combat terrorist threats within the “Schengen Area”.
Almost thirty years on from the signature of the eponymous agreement, it is now a good time to put into perspective the way that police and judicial cooperation and the fight against terror are organised in this framework.
Yves Bertoncini and António Vitorino take a stand in this Viewpoint and focus on three key issues:
1. The Schengen Agreement has resulted in a diversification of police checks, making them more effective, including those to identify terrorist threats;
2. Terrorist threats call for the spirit of the Schengen Agreement to be furthered;
3. The police and judicial cooperation organised by the Schengen Agreement and the EU must be reinforced, including cooperation to combat terrorism.
An improved application of the Schengen Area’s operating rules is without doubt possible, to enable its member countries and the EU to withstand terrorist threats. Questioning these rules does not in any way impede freedom of movement, a right granted since the Rome Treaty to all EU residents, regardless of whether or not their country is a member of the Schengen Area. Yet this would make the exercise of this right much more complex and costly, while undermining the shared responsibility that Europeans require in order to dismantle terrorist networks.
This Tribune was also published on the HuffingtonPost.fr and on Euractiv.com.