Monday, January 25, 2016

EU ministers to meet in Amsterdam to discuss reintroducing national border controls for two years.


EU ministers to meet in Amsterdam to discuss reintroducing national border controls for two years. (RT).

EU ministers will meet in Amsterdam to discuss steps to allow states to reintroduce national border controls for two years, possibly spelling the end for the 30-year-old Schengen Agreement allowing passport-free travel across 26 states, according to reports.
The refugee crisis has pushed Europe to “a make or break” point, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, giving rise to fresh fears that the Schengen agreement – currently cracking under the strain of migrants arriving en masse from the Middle East, Africa and beyond – could be reviewed.

The influx of refugees has greatly increased the pressure on Schengen, and when asked whether it was at risk, Lagarde replied: “Yes, I think so.”

Under the Schengen Agreement, temporary border checks may be extended for a total period of two years. For the extension to happen, EU leaders have to agree that "persistent serious deficiencies" in controls at Schengen's external borders put its very existence in jeopardy.

"We have not yet launched this mechanism ... (but) this possibility exists, it is there and the Commission is prepared to use it if need be," a spokeswoman for the EU's executive said of the potential extension on Friday, Reuters reported. The Commission would then have to recommend the extension and the European Council approve it by a qualified majority.

So far six Schengen members (Germany, Sweden, Austria, France, Denmark and non-EU member Norway) have been forced to resort to reinstating temporary border checks in the passport-free area - measures which can stay in place until May. Read the full story here.

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