MS Risk Blog

EU Migration Chief Calls for End to Border Checks as he Announces that Crisis is Over

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Last Thursday, the European Union’s (EU) top migration official disclosed that extraordinary border controls inside Europe’s passport-free travel area should not be extended because the refugee emergency is abating.

While systematic ID checks are banned in the 26-nation passport-free travel zone known as the Schengen area, the EU has made exceptions for Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and non-EU country Norway to prolong ID checks at their borders. Those countries have stated that the checks, which were introduced in 2016 after around one million migrants entered Europe the previous year, are needed for security reasons. While German Chancellor Angela Merkel is keen to have the police checks continue, and there is currently no sign of Berlin backing off that stance as the country prepares for an election on 24 September, EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has stated that while the checks were justified, the reasons behind their introduction “are not there anymore.” He further disclosed “I believe it is the moment to go back to the normal function of Schengen.”

Avramopoulos believes that the EU’s external borders are stronger now, and has stated that the bloc’s migrant deal with Turkey is working well, with migrant flows from the country to the Greek islands down by 81 percent last month, compare with August 2016. He told reporters that “during the last two years we have been working in crisis mode, now it’s the moment to step out of the crisis.”