The study by Prognos AG, commissioned by Germany‘s Bertelsmann Foundation, estimated that if European nations reintroduced passport checks at borders, this would push import prices up between one and three percent.
In the worst-case scenario, this could cost the EU roughly €1.4 trillion over the next decade from consumer price increases and demand drop. The sum is equal to about 10% of the EU’s annual GDP. At a minimum, the cost would still reach €470 billion.
“If Europe’s internal barriers go back up, it will put even more pressure on growth, which is already weak,” Aart De Geus, Bertelsmann Foundation head, said in a statement.
Permanently restoring identity checks within the EU would mean longer waits at border crossings for commercial traffic, leading to increased production costs and higher prices, according to the study.
Germany and France, the EU’s biggest economies, would sustain greatest losses. Germany could lose up to €235 billion in the period between 2016 and 2025, while France faces costs of up to €244 billion.