Questions and answers about free movement in Europe

BRUSSELS -- Six countries in Europe's document-free travel area now have wide-ranging border checks in place following Denmark's decision on Monday to tighten controls on its southern border with Germany.

See Full Article

Denmark made the move after Sweden imposed ID checks for rail passengers travelling between the two. Others to reintroduce checks to cope with mass flows of migrants are Austria, Germany and Norway, which is not a European Union member. France has them in place due to the attacks in Paris.

Here are some questions and answers about the security measures that have raised doubts about the future of free movement within the 26 nations that make up the Schengen area -- named after the Luxembourg town where it was set up in 1985.

WHY THE NEED FOR ROUTINE BORDER CHECKS?

The EU estimates that more than 1.5 million people crossed Schengen area borders in an "irregular" way last year. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of people in Greece and Italy totally overwhelmed their border authorities, leaving many free to try to move further north to preferred destinations like Germany and Sweden. As those nations feel the pressure, they have sometimes tightened their southern borders, creating a domino-like effect back down the line.

ARE THEY ALLOWED TO?

Yes; it's inconvenient for travellers but it's not breaking the rules. Europe's refugee emergency is considered to be an exceptional event. Countries fearing for public safety due to unpredictable migrant movements must give notice of their intentions to the European Commission, which supervises the Schengen rulebook. They can introduce checks for up to 30 days at a time for a maximum of six months. If they want to move faster and don't give enough notice, like Denmark, they can initially introduce checks for 10 days then extend that for periods of up to 20 days for two months.

ARE THESE SIX NATIONS RESPECTING THE RULES?

The Commission says the actions by Austria, France, Germany, Norway and Sweden are acceptable, as they are proportionate to the public security threat these countries might face. It is still assessing Denmark's decision and has not indicated when that assessment might be complete.

SO IS EUROPE'S PASSPORT-FREE TRAVEL DREAM DEAD?

EU officials say Schengen rules are working. But it's fair to say the system is not well. The real solution is to have fully functioning security controls on Europe's borders to the outside world. If people can move freely through the EU's external borders and are not registered on arrival in Greece or Italy, then it's a simple matter for them to move on and threaten the whole system. The Commission is expected to unveil in March "targeted" modifications to the rulebook that would tighten the external borders and improve Europe's asylum application rules.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Bautista leads Jays past Yankees in likely final home game

    Canada News CBC News
    Jose Bautista had two hits, drove in one run and scored another to help lift the Blue Jays to a 9-5 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday in what was likely his final home game in a Toronto uniform. Source
  • 1 dead, 7 hurt in Tennessee church shooting

    World News Toronto Sun
    NASHVILLE — A masked gunman entered a church in Tennessee on Sunday and opened fire, killing at least one person and injuring seven others before apparently shooting himself, an official said. Don Aaron, spokesman for the Metro Nashville Police Department, said the gunman arrived at the parking lot in a blue vehicle as services were ending at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in the neighbourhood of Antioch. Source
  • Mass exodus of Rohingya slowing down but many still trying to flee Myanmar

    World News CBC News
    The massive exodus of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar to escape brutal persecution appears to have slowed down, but several recent refugees say tens of thousands more are huddled near beaches or in forests waiting to escape. Source
  • Airstrikes hit Syria's Aleppo despite ceasefire

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- Airstrikes have targeted rural Aleppo in northern Syria Sunday for the first time in months since a cease-fire took hold in the province, killing one, activists and a war monitoring group said. Also Sunday, the Central Military Media, affiliated with the Syrian government, reported that Iranian drones successfully struck vehicles of the Islamic State group along the Syria-Iraq border in the south. Source
  • Toronto trust-funder Blake Leibel accused of torture killing

    World News Toronto Sun
    — “People come to Los Angeles to be someone else. And when you have that little self-esteem, terrible things are bound to happen.”— Black Dahlia author James Ellroy ••• Toronto trust-funder Blake Leibel’s bleak existence consists of hours of nothingness in the Los Angeles County Jail. Source
  • UN council to discuss report calling on Canada to address anti-black racism

    Canada News CTV News
    NEW YORK, United Nations -- The UN Human Rights Council is set to discuss a report on issues affecting African-Canadians that makes recommendations to the federal government, including that it apologize for slavery and consider providing reparations for historical injustices. Source
  • Hurricane Maria set Puerto Rico back decades: official

    World News CTV News
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico's nonvoting representative in the U.S. Congress said Sunday that Hurricane Maria's destruction has set the island back decades, even as authorities worked to assess the extent of the damage. Source
  • Baghdad orders Kurdistan region to hand over borders, ports

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- Iraq's central government in Baghdad ordered the country's Kurdish region to hand over all border crossings and airports to federal government control late Sunday night, hours before the region is set to carry out a controversial referendum on support for independence. Source
  • Engineers inspecting Puerto Rico's cracked dam that could 'collapse at any minute'

    World News CBC News
    Puerto Rico's government says engineers will inspect the Guajataca Dam on Sunday to determine the extent of damage inflicted by Hurricane Maria last week. The dam in the northwest corner of the island was cracked, but had not burst by late Saturday. Source
  • Merkel wins 4th term but nationalists surge in German vote

    World News Toronto Sun
    BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel was widely expected to win a fourth term in office as Germans went to the polls on Sunday in an election that is also likely to see the farthest right-wing party in 60 years, the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany, win seats in parliament. Source