EU to end internal Schengen controls

  • Elisabeth Gheorghe
  • 12.5.2017 18:53

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos revealed on 2 May that Schengen states Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and Sweden should lift border controls within six months. The European Council's final ruling confirmed the internal borders' extension on 11 May, deciding that controls are to last until mid-November at the latest. The statements emerged after Croatia and Slovenia received similar permission in April and Swedish authorities announced that ID-checks would be scrapped. In response to the 2015 migrant influx, the EU permitted controls in its passport-free area on a temporary basis.

In January 2016, ID-checks were introduced on the Danish-Swedish border, causing congestion on commuter services. Supplementary funds are allocated to the Swedish border agency to expand operations, to enable continued controls on land and water routes. The Swedish Migration Office declared on 3 May that increased migration is unlikely, although critics raise concerns of migration incentives and compromised security given dropped ID-checks and recent incidents in Europe and Sweden. The International Organization for Migration reported that migration to Europe in the first quarter of 2017 decreased compared to the same period in 2016 due to the EU-Turkey agreement and increased engagements with North African authorities.

About author: Elisabeth Gheorghe

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