Nicolas Sarkozy proposed to deeply reform the Schengen agreement, during his campaign’s speech at Villepinte (near Paris) yesterday. Otherwise, he would suspend the involvement of France if an agreement is not found after one year period.
Such a proposal aims at seducing a conservative electorate, close to Marine Le Pen and other nationalist leaders as Nicolas Dupont-Aignan. Nonetheless, this reform was already proposed and put forward. It is even in progress as confirms a European civil servant.
In 2011, some Member States in which France already requested a revision of the Schengen agreements as a response to the Arab springs and the flood of clandestine people coming from Tunisia and Libya. As a AFP article mentions: “the main reform under consideration plans the Schengen States shall temporary re-establish the controls to the another Schengen State borders in case of flood of massive and uncontrolled clandestine immigrates in the future and in last resort and if the concerned country does not manage to face with”
The current reform, proposed by the European Commission aims at giving supplementary provisions to the Schengen States in case of special event. In fact, the reform aims at targeting an extension of powers for the Member States which still keep the possibility of re-establishing the borders control in case of exceptional situation and in last resort.
Thus, the UMP candidate proposal is not so innovative. On the contrary, it is rather a way to seduce the Euro-sceptic electorate. What is more, such a positioning is quite risky insofar as a renegotiation of the Schengen Agreements is needed, what is hard to lead without questioning the European integration, Schengen being more than a simple policy, it is a real acquis and concrete realisation of the European Union, based on a strengthened cooperation between Member States. Eventually, a possible unilateral suspension of the Schengen agreement by France is a threat to regard with prudence, some Member States enjoying to apply the European provisions in function of their interests of the moment.
Proposing a revision of the Schengen agreement, Nicolas Sarkozy approves François Hollande when he recently declared he wanted to renegotiate the treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism if he was elected. My opinion aside, the Nicolas Sarkozy proposal is not so absurd if in the same time a real European external border control policy was implemented, by the FRONTEX agency mainly. This is a relevant hypothesis to take into account if we wish to keep the spirit of Schengen nowadays.