20th Mar 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"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.

EU told to create coalition against fake news

After almost two months of talks, a panel of experts set up by the EU commission have issued a series of recommendations on how to fight fake news or what they prefer to term 'disinformation'.

Poland defends judicial reforms, warns against EU pressure

Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki presented the Commission with 94-pages of arguments backing Warsaw's controversial judicial reforms - while his EU minister warns that constant conflict with Brussels could stoke anti-European sentiment.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework