FECL 11 (December 1992/January 1993):

THE SETTING UP AND FUNCTIONING OF SCHENGEN II: REPORT OF A FRENCH SENATORIAL COMMITTEE

In a report made public on 2 December, G‚rard Larcher, rapporteur of an 'investigative mission' of the French Senat, questions the effectiveness of so called compensatory measures in the field of internal security provided for by the Schengen II treaty and calls for both a "redefinition" of the strategy for open internal borders in Europe and for getting a renewed grip on measures ensuring the control of goods in the interest of the combat against all forms of illegal trafficking.

The report expresses harsh criticism against two Schengen-Member States, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, accused of laxness in dealing with drugs related crime.

After the recent refusal of Britain, Ireland and Denmark to accept the abolition of passport controls at their EC borders the French report must be understood as a serious sign of growing opposition against the entry into effect in 1993 of the freedom of movement of persons and goods as stipulated by the Common Act on European Unity.

The report describes drug trafficking by organized crime as "the big challenge for European democracies at the end of the 20th century".

"At a time, where underground economy resulting from the totality of criminal trafficking stands for about 20% of the GNP of the economies united in the Schengen area, the states must react." The report points out Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Portugal for their practice of leaving mere use of illicit drugs unpunished and welcomes Spain's recent policy change with regard to drug use (Spain introduced a new law criminalizing drug abuse on 21.2.92).

Senator Larcher, a member of the 'neo-gaullist' RPR, particularly admonishes the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Doesn't the cultivation of marijuana in Holland "now range in sixth position among hothouse growing, just after tomatoes?", Mr. Larcher asks, and "is it reasonable that Luxembourg which detains the absolute record for the number of deaths due to over-dose, maintains its banking secrecy?" Finally, the Senator points his finger at Morocco which he makes out as the "principal furnisher of cannabis raisin for Schengen-Europe" and tolerates "cannabis growing on 40'000 hectares in the Moroccan Rif, a cultivation covering almost one third of Europe's supplies".

What makes things worse, the Senator says, is that neither the Schengen Information System (SIS) nor the Customs Information System (CIS) will be ready for operation on 1 January 1993, the date on which the abolition of internal border controls in the Schengen area was to come into effect. "None of the other compensatory measures appear to be operational either", it is stated in the report, with particular mention of the current, particularly laborious preparations for setting up Europol".

The French Home Affairs Minister's announcement that the entry into force of the Schengen Agreement was to be postponed to some time in 1993, "probably in the first half of the year" does not appear to comfort the senator: "The weakness of the concept [of compensatory action within Schengen II - NB] can not be repaired by merely postponing the entry into force of the Schengen Agreement".

N.B.

 

Source. Le Monde, 3.12.92