Schengen Creaks, France and Germany Further Extend Border Controls
Four other countries have also requested Brussels to be able to suspend free movement for fear of terrorism or irregular migration, but the Commission assures that for now everything is within the rules
he Schengen system, for freedom of movement between EU member states, continues to creak. Six countries, including France, Germany, and Denmark, have asked Brussels to allow them to continue with border controls as an anti-terrorist measure, the first and to stop the flow of irregular migrants, the other two. The extension of internal Schengen border controls is “unavoidable” because of the “security situation in the European area” and the “lack of protection at our external border,” German Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere said before a meeting with his EU counterparts in Luxembourg at the EU Council. “We have decided to extend border controls for 6 months from November 11,” de Maiziere said, explaining that “this decision was taken with our Austrian and Danish neighbors,” and that “Sweden and Norway are also participating.” According to De Maiziere, the controls “continue to be a provisional measure,” but “we cannot avoid them at the moment.
For its part, Denmark justifies the planned extension of its border controls with Germany with the fear of the presence of radicalized asylum seekers. “A large number of irregular migrants and rejected asylum seekers is a real threat to security,” reads a letter from the Danish government to the European Union reported in the German press. Denmark has introduced border controls with Germany and other Schengen countries for the first time since last year. The Scandinavian country had repeated the controls on May 11 for six months and has now decided to extend them for another six.
“Our country has been the target of a new attack with the death of two young women in Marseille. France is in shock,” explained the French Minister of the Interior, Gerard Collomb, who said he was satisfied with the Commission’s proposal to amend the Schengen Border Code to allow the extension of controls for security reasons for one or two years, although, he announced that Paris has some objections “on the details.”
However, Italian Minister Marco Minniti was absent from the Internal Affairs Council. “At the meeting, migrants and Schengen were discussed, maybe Minniti is not interested in these topics? “, attacked the MEP of the 5 Star Movement Ignazio Corrao stressing that “the reform of Schengen is fundamental for Italy”, and recalling that “the European Parliament has started the discussion and, for now, the news is negative” with the reform proposal presented by the Commission that “lengthens the time to reintroduce border controls” and in this way “Europe is putting a cap on Italy and, without the revision of the Dublin Regulation, our country and in particular Sicily will be left alone to manage the hundreds of thousands of applications for international protection that arrive every year.”
The Commission’s position
The decision by Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway to extend internal border controls “is within what is already provided for” by the Schengen rules, assured European Commissioner for Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos, in Luxembourg for the EU Council. “Yesterday we received notifications from six member states,” Avramopoulos explained, and “from what I understand these notifications were made under the pressure of a deadline. We will evaluate the content and discuss it with all member states.” However, “this extension is within what is already provided for” by the rules, Avramopoulos added, stressing that he understands the concerns “about security” of the countries that have decided to maintain the controls.