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

  • Fraud case charges stayed because of judge shortage in Ontario Superior Court

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Five men accused in an alleged multimillion-dollar fraud scheme have had all charges against them stayed because of a shortage of judges in Ontario's Superior Court of Justice. Earlier this year, a judge attempting to set a trial date for the five accused said they could not come before the courts until at least January 2019. Source
  • Newly released video from Brazil shows man believed to be last of tribe

    World News CTV News
    SAO PAULO -- No one knows his name. No one knows the name of the people he came from. And he appears to have lived alone in Brazil's Amazon for 22 years. Video released for this first time this week by Brazil's Indian Foundation shows rare images of a so-called uncontacted indigenous man who is believed to be the last surviving member of his tribe. Source
  • Man charged with attempted murder of 5-year-old makes court appearance

    Canada News CTV News
    The 28-year-old man charged with the attempted murder of a 5-year-old Brampton, Ont. boy appeared in court on Friday. Dyon Smart has been remanded in custody and will make his next court appearance on July 25. Source
  • 'The Jay Z of St.-T': Rapper runs for mayor in St. Thomas, Ont.

    Canada News CTV News
    Three years ago, rap artist Malichi Male was driving to a gig in London, Ont. when he got lost. Male took a wrong turn and ended up in St. Thomas, a quiet community about 27 kilometres south of his destination. Source
  • MGM turns to never-tested law to sue Vegas shooting victims

    World News CTV News
    LAS VEGAS -- The unprecedented move from MGM Resorts International to sue hundreds of victims of last year's mass shooting in Las Vegas using an obscure U.S. law never tested in court has been framed by the casino-operator as an effort to avoid years of costly litigation -- but the legal manoeuvr may not play out that way. Source
  • 4-year-old boy shoots, kills 2-year-old cousin in California: police

    World News CTV News
    SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old cousin at a home in Southern California. San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman says the shooting occurred Friday morning in the Muscoy area, east of Los Angeles. Source
  • Technical and stage workers locked out at Toronto's Exhibition Place

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Workers who provide technical and staging expertise for events in major venues at Toronto's Exhibition Place have been locked out. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 58 says the lockout comes after months of negotiations for a new collective agreement. Source
  • Woman 'livid' after Air Canada allegedly failed to put mother’s remains on connecting flight

    Canada News CTV News
    A Brampton, Ont. woman says her mother’s remains spent days in an unrefrigerated Miami warehouse after Air Canada allegedly failed to transfer them to a connecting flight on time. “I’m livid,” Dion De Freitas told CTV Toronto. Source
  • U.S. making 'great progress' reuniting migrant families: judge

    World News CTV News
    SAN DIEGO -- A federal judge says the Trump administration is making "great progress" toward meeting a Thursday deadline to reunite more than 2,500 children with their families after they were separated at the border. Source
  • Quebec pilot project to introduce sexual education to daycare-aged kids

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Some 1,200 Quebec daycare and kindergarten students will begin receiving age-appropriate sexual education this fall as part of a pilot project. The project will be run by the Marie-Vincent Foundation, which fights sexual abuse of children and teenagers. Source