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

  • China defends prison care of Nobel Peace laureate

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - China appears to be responding to criticism that prison authorities failed to provide sufficient care to the ailing Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, saying he received regular health checks but nothing abnormal was detected until May. Source
  • Venezuela hunts for helicopter pilot behind 'terrorist attack'

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- Oscar Perez is a cop, pilot, action movie star and dog trainer. He’s now also a fugitive, accused of strafing two key Venezuelan government buildings from a helicopter in a quixotic attempt to set off a revolt against President Nicolas Maduro. Source
  • Demonstrators try to erect ceremonial teepee on Parliament Hill, stopped by police

    Canada News CBC News
    Big police presence on Parliament Hill where #Indigenous protestors are trying to get onto the grounds. #Ottawa#Ottnewspic.twitter.com/H8wOZYu6nd— @eskura A group of Indigenous people and supporters headed to Parliament Hill tonight to try and perform a ceremony and erect a teepee, but faced opposition from police. Source
  • Canada 150 protesters try to erect teepee on Parliament Hill

    Canada News CTV News
    Demonstrators looked to stage a peaceful protest by erecting a teepee on Parliament Hill Wednesday night, as the city gears up for Canada Day events. A group of roughly 80 people carrying poles for a teepee tent were stopped by RCMP, Ottawa Police and Parliament Hill security at about 8 p.m. Source
  • 5 things to know about Venezuela's political crisis

    World News CTV News
    Five things to know about Venezuela's escalating political crisis: HOW DID THE UNREST BEGIN? In late March, the government-stacked Supreme Court issued a ruling stripping the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its last powers. The decision was later reversed amid a widespread international criticism, but it launched near protests in which at least 75 people have died. Source
  • B.C. couple donates kidneys to strangers

    Canada News CTV News
    A B.C. woman donated a kidney to a complete stranger, and her act of kindness inspired her husband to donate one too. Elizabeth Black of Burnaby decided to give her kidney away after seeing her father-in-law and a neighbour deal with kidney disease. Source
  • Canada 150: From nurse to accomplished executive, one immigrant's success story

    Canada News CTV News
    As Queenie Choo strolled through Vancouver’s Chinatown on a recent afternoon, memories of her first days in Canada were never far from her mind. "I was made to feel very welcome, and that was something I will never forget, even up to now," she told CTV News. Source
  • Police: Pregnant woman overdoses, charged with baby assault

    World News CTV News
    EAST BUTLER, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania woman who overdosed on heroin while pregnant and had to undergo a cesarean section is being charged with assault on her unborn child, authorities said. Kasey Dischman, 30, was roughly seven months pregnant when she injected herself with heroin she found under a couch early last Friday in her home in East Butler, about 64 kilometres north of Pittsburgh, a criminal complaint obtained by KDKA-TV shows. Source
  • Australian police charge Vatican cardinal with sex offences

    World News CTV News
    SYDNEY, Australia -- Australian police charged a top Vatican cardinal on Thursday with multiple counts of historical sexual assault offences, a stunning decision certain to rock the highest levels of the Holy See. Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis' chief financial adviser and Australia's most senior Catholic, is the highest-ranking Vatican official to ever be charged in the church's long-running sexual abuse scandal. Source
  • RRRoll Up the Rim in the summer? Yes, it's happening now

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    It’s time to double down on Canada 150 celebrations with a double-double. Tim Hortons has announced a special edition of RRRoll Up the Rim to Win that begins on June 28 and continues through July 21, 2017. Source