Thursday

24th Aug 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

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.

Opinion

Managing migration: a European responsibility

"The EU now needs to bring its weight to bear, to ensure non-EU countries cooperate on taking back their nationals arriving as economic migrants", writes migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

News in Brief

  1. Macron slams EU posted workers rules
  2. Germany asks EU to strengthen foreign takeover rules
  3. Poll shows tight race in Norway's upcoming elections
  4. Air Berlin insolvency talks begin amid 'stitch-up' accusation
  5. EU calls on Serbia and Macedonia to remain calm
  6. Schulz wants US to remove nuclear weapons from Germany
  7. Ukraine and Russia to announce another ceasefire
  8. EU to investigate Monsanto-Bayer merger

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference