Council adopts proposal towards lifting of temporary internal border controls

Back to Schengen: Council adopts Commission proposal on next steps towards lifting of temporary internal border controls

The Council has today adopted the Commission's proposal to prolong proportionate controls at certain internal Schengen borders in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, for up to six months.

These countries had already introduced measures to address the threat to public policy and internal security resulting from the secondary movements of irregular migrants from Greece.

Last week, the Commission proposed a recommendation to extend these measures, in line with the Schengen Borders Code, as - and despite significant progress made by Greece - not all of the serious deficiencies identified could be adequately and comprehensively addressed within the three months' limit.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "We welcome the adoption of our proposal by the Council. Huge efforts have been made by Greece but as long as serious deficiencies in border management persist some internal border control measures need to be maintained. This is in line with our roadmap to return to a normal functioning of the Schengen zone by November. We need to get there in an orderly way. "

Commissioner of Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: “Schengen is one of the greatest achievements of European integration, and the Commission is committed to safeguarding it. In order to do that, these coordinated temporary steps are necessary as long as deficiencies at our external borders persist. The Commission will continue to provide comprehensive support to the Greek authorities. Significant progress has already been made and the EU-Turkey agreement has led to a sharp decrease of the arrivals in Greece. Today's decision paves the way for a return to the normal functioning of the Schengen area and the lifting of all internal border controls by the end of 2016”.

Today’s Council Recommendation recommends that five countries maintain border controls for a further period of six months at the following internal borders:

  • Austria at the Austrian-Hungarian land border and Austrian-Slovenian land border;
  • Germany at the German-Austrian land border;
  • Denmark in the Danish ports with ferry connections to Germany and at the Danish-German land border;
  • Sweden in the Swedish harbours in the Police Region South and West and at the Öresund bridge;
  • Norway in the Norwegian ports with ferry connections to Denmark, Germany and Sweden.

These measures, foreseen under the Schengen Borders Code, act as a safeguard for the overall functioning of the area without internal border controls.

The objective is to lift all internal border controls and return to a normally functioning Schengen area by the end of 2016, in line with the "Back to Schengen" Roadmap.