One of the most enthusiastically cited supposed achievements of the European Union, open borders and Free Movement between member states, will continue to be suspended between some members.
Germany announced it would be extending its own border control to its southern frontier with Austria on Friday. Interior ministry spokesman Eleonore Petermann explained: “It is important to say… it is still our aim to return to a Schengen without borders, without border controls.
“Travel without border controls is one of the greatest achievements [of the European Union]. But we still see problems with the protection of the EU’s external borders and we still have high numbers for illegal secondary migration.”
Denmark also extended their controls Friday, reports SVT. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration Inger Støjberg said of the decision: “There is still a serious terrorist threat against Denmark and a significant pressure on Europe’s external borders. Therefore, the government believes that border controls are necessary to safeguard Denmark’s security.”
Støjberg told press she expected other EU nations to make similar announcements in short order.
Both nations would have seen their controls expire in November, had they not made announcements Friday to the contrary.
While the European Union’s borderless Schengen zone requires member states to keep their frontiers open for all travellers, clauses within the treaty allow member states to re-introduce border controls in case of an emergency for short periods of time.
Following the unprecedented movement across the continent, often by foot and train, of hundreds of thousands of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East, many nations decided to trigger those powers and have been periodically renewing them since.
While this pinnacle of European integration was tested to breaking point by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to unilaterally declare the continent open to all comers in 2015, the fact that many of Europe’s internal borders remain subject to these emergency controls even years later is little discussed.
Another European nation that belatedly introduced border controls months after the migrant crisis began, and is expected to extend that control again this month, is Sweden.
Yet serious questions have been asked about the effectiveness of that control after a leaked European Union report — which it is claimed was deliberately delayed so not to give ammunition to anti-mass migration populists in this year’s Swedish elections — slammed Sweden’s borders as the worst-patrolled in Europe.
The report, which called Sweden’s borders a “total failure”, revealed that border agents in the Scandinavian country only received the most basic training and were not even instructed on how to spot fake documents.