Sunday

21st Oct 2018

EU internal border checks to stay in place

The European Commission on Wednesday (5 May) backed extending internal border checks for six months in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden.

The Brussels executive says the move is triggered by ongoing border security issues in Greece, which pose a broader threat to the passport-free Schengen zone.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"As long as serious deficiencies in [Greece's] border management persist some internal border control measures should be maintained," said EU commission vice-president Frans Timmermans.

The commission says Greece is still unable to carry out surveillance in the Aegean without the help from others. It also notes Greece doesn't register incoming asylum seekers along its land borders.

Speaking alongside him at a press conference in Brussels, EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the plan was to lift all the internal checks by the end of year.

"By the end of this year, the Schengen zone will be formally normalised," said Avramopoulos.

Greek authorities earlier this year refuted the border criticism after the EU commission said Athens "had seriously neglected its obligations".

Greece is struggling with thousands of people stranded inside its territory after EU states failed to relocate them as promised last September.

The country is also grappling with EU bailout-imposed wage and pension cuts and huge unemployment.

The internal border shut downs were provoked, in part, by the some 1 million migrants that arrived last year in the EU.

Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel has also been blamed for attracting the exodus after she announced an open door policy for Syrian refugees last August.

Merkel's move provoked a political rift with her fiercest domestic critic, Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer.

Germany imposed a 10-day control at its Austrian border in September. It was then extended by 20 days and then again for another 20 days.

EU rules allow for border checks for six months, but they can be extended to two years if EU institutions determine that gaps at the external frontiers pose an existential threat to Schengen.

Germany's border deadline is May, coinciding with the EU commission's decision on 4 May to extend the checks for another six months.

Austria, Norway, and Sweden’s border checks were also set to expire in May.

Imposing internal border checks has raised fears about the future of free movement within the EU.

The commission estimates that setting up internal barriers everywhere in the EU would cost some €18 billion annually to its economy.

Russian activist warns on 'fake news' as EU backs action

In 2015, internet activist Lyudmila Savchuk went under cover to expose a troll factory in St Petersburg. As the EU summit endorses anti-disinformation action, she told EUobserver the Russian government is bankrolling many more.

EU passport sales create 'proud Maltese citizens'

Malta says its 'Golden Visas' scheme attracts families that want to become "proud Maltese citizens". Meanwhile the sales to Russian nationals, and others, have generated over €700m in revenue.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia MPs back name deal in initial vote
  2. EU to open trade talks with US on beef
  3. EU court orders Poland to suspend firing judges
  4. Japan to focus on circular economy at G20
  5. Italian budget 'significant deviation' from rules, says EU
  6. Podemos initiates debate on legalising marijuana in Spain
  7. Merkel: Focus on banking union at December EU summit
  8. Scotland confirms mad cow disease case

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. What Italy's budget row is actually about
  2. EU preparing 'concentration camps' for migrants in Africa
  3. Poland to respect EU injunction on judicial purge
  4. EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK
  5. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud
  6. Polish left a glimmer of hope in fight against illiberal democracy
  7. Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times
  8. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us