Briefing Paper

Briefing Paper 219 (2017)   

The new Frontex and the future of Schengen:
A brick fortress, or a castle made of sand?


Published 3.5.2017

Teemu Tammikko
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

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The role and capacity of Frontex have quickly been modified in order to respond to the challenges of irregular migration and transnational terrorism.

Concerns about losing national sovereignty due to the new and enhanced role of Frontex are groundless: Member states will still have the final say on how to control their own borders.

While it has been easy to strengthen control, there is still one unanswered, vital question for the future of Schengen: How to share the burden of migration? If the question on burden-sharing remains unanswered, the EU will be dependent on externalizing the challenge of migration through dubious bilateral agreements with volatile and disinterested neighbours.

Enhanced control over the external borders is a welcome measure, but it is not a definitive solution for tackling the challenges of irregular migration and transnational terrorism. Europe needs more effective control inside the Schengen area, but there are no easy remedies for how this could be achieved without compromising the core principle of freedom of movement inside Schengen.

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