10:08 GMT +3 hours29 August 2016
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Refugee and Schengen crisis EC conference in Brussels

Emergency Meeting Called Over EU Refugee and Schengen Crisis

Francois Lenoir
Europe
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An emergency meeting has been called by the European Commission (EC) over the introduction of border controls by Sweden and Denmark in an attempt to control the flow of refugees moving north within Europe.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Wednesday met Morgan Johannson, Swedish Minister for Justice and Migration, Inger Støjberg, Danish Minister for Immigration, and Ole Schröder, Parliamentary Secretary of State at the German Federal Ministry for the Interior.

"The idea of the meeting is to improve the coordination of the countries in question in order to ensure better administration of migratory flows," said EU commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas.

Sweden gained permission from Brussels for exemption from the Schengen borderless zone agreement to re-impose photo ID checks on rail, bus and boat passengers crossing between Denmark and Sweden from January 4. The move marked the first time in 65 years that checks have been made on such movement between Copenhagen and Malmö. Rail travelers from Denmark have to disembark at Copenhagen Airport to be routed through the border checks, further delaying the daily commute.

Denmark responded by introducing a ten-day temporary border control with Germany to stem the flow of refugees heading to Sweden. Relations between Denmark and Sweden were put under tension last year when Sweden joined Germany in declaring its doors open to Syrian refugees, sparking the biggest mass migration in Europe since the Second World War.

Denmark said it would impose checks at its border with Germany to prevent a build-up — Calais-style — of migrants within Denmark. Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said the decision was "not a happy moment" but Denmark "must respond" to Sweden's restrictions.

Slow Response

The moves follow criticism of the EU for failing to get to grips with the refugee crisis which has seen Hungary, Germany, Austria and other countries reimpose border controls, throwing the Schengen borderless Europe into disarray.

​There has been further criticism of the relocation plan for 160,000 refugees currently in Italy and Greece, of whom only just under 300 have actually been resettled. There is strong opposition in some countries — mainly in Eastern Europe — to a plan by the EC to impose mandatory quotas on countries to take in refugees.

​Wednesday's meeting was hastily arranged but Avramopoulos did not give any comment to reporters following the talks. However, responding to criticism of the EU's failure to respond unilaterally, the European Commission spokesman said there were "a number of areas that do not work optimally. This is part of the difficulty we're facing. The fact these areas are not working optimally does not mean that the Commission is wrong."

Related:
From Slovenia to Italy: Schengen Slowly Shutting Down
German Foreign Minister Warns of Crash of Borderless Europe Over Refugees
Denmark and Sweden at Loggerheads Over 'Annoying' Border ID Checks
Tags:
migrants, border crossing, border checkpoints, Schengen borders, Schengen area, free movement, refugee crisis, Schengen Zone, European Commission, European Union, Morgan Johansson, Inger Støjberg, Dimitris Avramopolous, Brussels, Europe
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  • Ivan Zadorozhny
    EU falling apart before our eyes in slow motion.
  • michael
    The fact these areas are not working optimally does not mean that the Commission is wrong."

    and what would show that the almighty commission IS wrong? WWIII, history as viewed a century hence? Anything as long as there is no responsibility taken by the commission.
  • Danzig
    Don't allow Europe to fall apart ! Make a stand and get these migrants out... !!!!!!! At least incarcerate them for the time being ........... this can be done in a concerted effort from many countries and don't be concerned of anyone telling you that you are not sensitive towards the migrants ! If you want to save your country from becoming a Muslim country then you must make a stand now !
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