Anthea McIntyre MEP, the European Conservatives and Reformists group’s shadow rapporteur on the proposals, warned that the parliament should not ‘throw its toys out of the pram’ after MEPs called the decision a ‘declaration of war’ against the legitimacy of MEPs and the Commission.

 The council has unanimously decided to consider the evaluation mechanism under article 70 of the EU treaty, which precludes MEPs from having co-decision powers.

Other political groups have demanded that the Parliament immediately takes the matter to the EU’s Court of Justice, and have threatened to cut off all cooperation with the Council.

Speaking in the debate this morning, Miss McIntyre said:

“I too was surprised by the Council’s move to change the legal basis of Schengen. But I am even more surprised by your reactions. This is a time for cool heads and calm consideration. We should not react with a childish tantrum and throw our toys out of the pram. These are very challenging times for the EU and we need good working relations between the institutions. The first step should be to investigate the legal consequences of the Council’s action.

“In my view the management of a country’s borders is directly linked to national security and, under the European Treaties, national security remains the responsibility of each member state. I understand why member states don’t want to give up this competence – and they are quite right.”