The Schengen Borders Code provides Member States with the capability of temporarily reintroducing border control at the internal borders in the event that a serious threat to public policy or internal security has been established.
The reintroduction of border control at the internal borders must remain an exception and must respect the principle of proportionality. The scope and duration of such a temporary reintroduction of border control at the internal borders is limited in time and should be restricted to the bare minimum needed to respond to the threat in question. Reintroducing border control at the internal border should only ever 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 with regard to the necessity of the measure and its proportionality but cannot veto such a decision if it is taken by a Member State.
Current Temporarily Reintroduced Border Controls
Temporarily reintroduced in the context of COVID-19:
Temporary border controls reintroduced in a context different from COVID-19:
For foreseeable events (e.g. sport events), the duration of the measure is limited to thirty days or for the foreseeable duration of the threat if that threat exceeds thirty days.
If required, the reintroduction of border control can be prolonged for renewable periods of up to thirty days. The total period shall not exceed six months.
The Member State shall notify the Commission and the other Member States at least four weeks before the planned reintroduction of border control. An exception is made if the circumstances giving rise to reintroduced border control become known less than four weeks before the planned reintroduction.
Where immediate action needs to be taken in order to adequately respond to a threat, a Member State may reintroduce border control for ten days without prior notification. The Commission and the Member States must be informed of such decisions immediately. The reintroduction can be prolonged for periods of up to twenty days. The overall period shall not exceed two 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.
The existence of serious deficiencies in the carrying out of external border control must be first identified in an evaluation report, as drawn up pursuant to Regulation 1053/2013 establishing an evaluation and monitoring mechanism to verify the application of the Schengen acquis. The Member State concerned has three months in which to report on the implementation of the relevant action plan further to such an evaluation report. After the expiry of this period, if the Commission finds that the situation persists, it may trigger the application of the procedure provided for in Article 29 of the Schengen Borders Code where all the conditions for doing so are fulfilled.
For more information, see press release IP/16/1723: Back to Schengen: Council adopts Commission proposal on next steps towards lifting of temporary internal border controls.