Thursday

23rd Mar 2017

EU extends internal border controls

  • Out of 3 million checked by Sweden, only 640 were prevented from entering the country. (Photo: News Oresund)

EU states backed extending internal border checks for three months in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and Sweden.

The move was formally approved on Friday (11 November) by the EU council, representing member states.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The European Commission had recommended the extension in late October, following demands from the respective capitals over broader fears that refugees and asylum seekers in Italy and Greece may attempt to settle in the countries.

The closed border along the Western Balkan route earlier this year and a migrant swap deal with Turkey has seen migratory flows into greater Europe drop. Italy has also imposed stiff border checks along the Brenner Pass with Austria, a major transit route into Germany.

Fears prevail, as all five states seek to maintain controls initially imposed in May.

Those checks were allowed to remain in place for six months as a response to "a serious threat and to safeguard public policy and internal security."

Facts and figures

But, of the some 3 million people screened by Swedish authorities from June until the end of August only 640 were refused entry.

Norway refused only 14 people between May and September.

Austria stopped entry of 233 between May and August and Germany over 3,000 from mid-May until the end of July.

Denmark said it had refused entry of just over 1,000 people from May until September, out of some 1 million people screened.

The frequency of the checks, location, and time varies.

Despite the relative low refusal rates, the commission has described the internal border checks as proportionate.

All five are part of the Schengen border-free zone, which spans 26 countries throughout Europe.

It means Austria will continue to impose checks along its border with Hungary and Germany with Austria.

Denmark will carry out land border and ferry port checks with Germany, while Sweden will maintain checks at Oresund bridge with Denmark, and Norway will oversee ferry connections to Denmark, Germany, and Sweden.

The commission had previously said such internal controls would be removed before the end of the year to restore "a normally functioning Schengen."

But Robert Kalinak, the Slovak interior minister speaking on behalf of his country's EU presidency, now says the controls will be lifted when possible.

"Although we are not there yet, the situation is improving. The prolongation will, therefore, be for three months only, and there will be more intensive reporting obligations compared to the previous period," he said in a statement.

EU extends internal border checks

Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway granted three-month extensions on border controls despite fall in migrant numbers.

Analysis

More hype than substance in EU counter-terror plans

The 22 March anniversary of the Brussels bombing will trigger a lot of soul searching. But EU counter-terrorism strategies over the past 10 years have been crisis-driven with little follow through or oversight.

LuxLeaks whistleblowers sentenced again

PwC employees Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet, who revealed how multinational companies dodged taxes through deals in Luxembourg, were given reduced sentences.

EU lawmakers tighten firearm rules

The EU parliament backed a provisional deal with member states to tighten EU gun laws. EU states now have to formally adopt their position before the new legislation is enacted.

EU home to over 5,000 criminal groups

Europol says the figure is more a reflection of an improved intelligence picture rather than an absolute increase in the number of gangs.

News in Brief

  1. Man arrested in Antwerp after trying to mow people down
  2. Marine Le Pen goes to Russia
  3. Dutch post-election talks prioritise green-right coalition
  4. EU summons Turkish envoy over threats to Europeans
  5. British police make first arrests in London terror probe
  6. EU commission has received Facebook reply on WhatsApp
  7. Rome expects thousands of protesters at summit
  8. Dijsselbloem says his comments had 'Dutch directness'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  2. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have the Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  4. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  5. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  6. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  8. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  9. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  10. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  11. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change
  12. European Free AllianceSupporting Artur Mas: Democracy and Freedom Cannot Be Convicted

Latest News

  1. UN could step in where EU fails in child migrant protection
  2. May: London attacker was known to the police
  3. Ending the migrant deal with Turkey may save the EU
  4. Poland unlikely to face EU discipline on rule of law
  5. Rutte courted Wilders' voters, now he must deliver
  6. Barnier to UK: trade talks will come after settling accounts
  7. EU declaration to voice unity in troubled times
  8. Terror attack shuts down UK parliament