Internal border controls aren’t going anywhere, an EU commission decided on Tuesday. Politico EU:
“Over the past months we have taken important steps to address deficiencies at our external borders,” said European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, citing the recent launch of an EU border and coast guard. “But we are unfortunately not there yet.”
A significant number of “irregular” migrants remain in Greece, as well as in other countries which have been most affected by movements of migrants across the EU, the Commission said. It added that lifting the temporary border controls could lead to an increase of such movements.
Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway will be allowed to maintain their own borders. Back in January, officials in Berlin said Germany was going to keep border controls in place for up to two years. As we wrote at the time, there is nothing so permanent as a temporary measure.
Just one year ago, Europe was cheering Chancellor Merkel’s decision to accept 1 million refugees in 2015; the suspension of Schengen is a consequence of that policy. Europe was struggling to manage the flow of Eastern European workers to Western Europe before millions of Syrians and North Africans started filling boats to Greece and Italy. Now, borders are closed and the most that even idealistic functionaries in Brussels can say amount to platitudinal reassurances like “we have taken important steps.”
The reality, however much some EU leaders insist otherwise, is that things in Europe are not going back to the way they were any time in the foreseeable future.