The Schengen Borders Code (SBC) provides Member States with the capability of temporarily reintroducing border control at the internal borders in the event of a serious threat to public policy or internal security.
The reintroduction of border control at the internal borders must be applied as a last resort measure, in exceptional situations, and must respect the principle of proportionality.
The duration of such a temporary reintroduction of border control at the internal borders is limited in time, depending on the legal basis invoked by the Member State introducing such border control.
The scope and duration of reintroduced border control should be restricted to the bare minimum needed to respond to the threat in question. Reintroducing border control at the internal border should only be used as a measure of last resort.
The reintroduction of border control is a prerogative of the Member States. The Commission may issue an opinion regarding the necessity of the measure and its proportionality but cannot veto a Member State’s decision to reintroduce border control.
Current Temporarily Reintroduced Border Controls
Temporarily reintroduced in the context of COVID-19:
Finland (12 July – 25 July 2021; 19 July – 25 July 2021)
Coronavirus COVID-19; until 18 July 2021: internal borders with the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, France, Sweden, Denmark and Estonia; as of 19 July 2021: internal borders with the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, France, Slovenia, Sweden, Denmark and Estonia
* Denmark expects to lift the COVID-19 related restrictions at all internal borders as soon as the situation allows for it.
Temporary border controls reintroduced in a context different from COVID-19:
Norway (10 May - 9 November 2021)
Terrorist threats, secondary movements; ports with ferry connections to Denmark, Germany and Sweden
Austria (12 May - 11 November 2021)
Secondary movements, risk related to terrorists and organized crime, situation at the external borders; land borders with Hungary and with Slovenia;
For foreseeable events (e.g. sports events), the duration of the border control is limited to 30 days or for the foreseeable duration of the threat, if it exceeds 30 days.
If required, the reintroduction of border control can be prolonged for renewable periods of up to 30 days. The total period shall not exceed 6 months.
The Member State shall notify the Commission and other Member States at least 4 weeks before the planned reintroduction of border control. An exception of this notification period is made, if the circumstances giving rise to reintroduced border control become known at a shorter notice.
Where immediate action needs to be taken to adequately respond to a threat, a Member State may reintroduce border control for 10 days without prior notification.
The Commission and the Member States must be informed of such decisions immediately.
While the reintroduction can be prolonged for periods of up to 20 days, the overall period of border control shall not exceed 2 months.
In exceptional circumstances, where the overall functioning of the Schengen Area is put at risk as a result of persistent serious deficiencies relating to external border control, and insofar as those circumstances constitute a serious threat to public policy or internal security, the Council may, based on a proposal from the Commission, recommend that one or more Member States decide to reintroduce border control at all or at specific parts of their internal borders.
Such a recommendation shall only be made as a last resort and as a measure to protect the common interests within the Schengen Area, where all other measures, in particular those referred to in Article 21 of the Schengen Borders Code, are ineffective in mitigating the serious threat identified.