Police border checks were set up between France and Spain from November 13th to December 13th, to control immigration during COP21 when 195 countries and nearly 150 world leaders met in Paris to discuss climate change and energy saving.
Following the horrendous Paris bombings of November 2015, and with increased terrorisme threats, heavy security can once again be expected at the France/Spain border, with tighter checks on all travellers, including European nationals.
Expect passports checks and verification of personal information with police databases until at least the end of February.
Identity checks will also take place, both of people and vehicles, when crossing the border at Cerbère, Puigcerdà and Prats de Mollo.
The dismantling of the police booths on the A9 motorway took place in October 2010, bringing an end to the physical border between France and Spain, although France retained an administrative, police and customs presence around Perthus-La Jonquera.
The abolition of the borders between Le Perthus and La Jonquera followed. This was only after pressure from the EU, and threats to impose fines of over 10 million euros if the booths were not dismantled, according to the Schengen agreement of 1995.
Schengen decreed internal borders were to be abolished and EU members would have ‘free movement of persons’.
Some members (the United Kingdom and Ireland) opted not to fully participate in the Schengen system at the time, but France and Spain were not amongst these.
The initiative made an enormous difference to the heavy summer traffic bottlenecks at both motorway and Le Perthus borders, as the Catalan frontier was heavily manned by both French and Spanish police on a regular basis, and believed to be the most controlled border in the EU!
Plan your journey with the expectation of queues and tailbacks and enjoy it as a bonus if you manage to get through without!