Schengen Visa Policy-Making: Shifting Competence While Authorizing Discretion

  • Federica InfantinoEmail author


This chapter focuses on the legally binding and self-executing text that regulates the procedures and conditions for issuing Schengen visas—the Visa Code—adopted following Community decision-making rules in 2009. EU visa policy is a compensatory measure to free movement whose initial characteristics are discretion and, unlike other historical examples of border-free regions, restrictiveness. The Visa Code is not created from scratch. In regard to the objective of consular action—the assessment of the migratory ‘risk’—it shows continuities with the Common Consular Instructions, drafted during the original Schengen process to which Belgium and France have participated. However, the Visa Code is less precise. Several conditions specific to EU legislative policy-making underline the vagueness of law and broadly worded instructions. The EU legal framework emerges as a source of national discretion. The chapter addresses discontinuities with the original Schengen process, most notably those stemming from the ‘friendly and unified Europe’ policy frame that has underlined the position of new institutional players involved in the adoption of the Visa Code. The Visa Code reveals foreign affairs concerns since EU visa policy is an area in which the image of unified Europe and of a friendly European border is at stake.


EU foreign affairs Communitarization Security Policy frame Schengen area Visa Code 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FNRSUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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