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Schengen: more fences and more checks mean increasing strain

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Schengen: more fences and more checks mean increasing strain


Austria says it plans to build a 3.7 kilometre fence along its border with Slovenia.

It is the first time a barrier will have been erected between two members of the EU’s passport-free Schengen Zone.

Officials say the barrier is legal, as it is only temporary and aimed at channeling the flow of migrants.

Announcing the measures for the Spielfeld crossing in conjunction with Slovenia, Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said a 25 kilometre stretch of fence could be up within 48 hours, if necessary.


Austria’s decision is the latest in a series of tough measures by member states which critics say contradict the EU principle of free movement of people.

The chief of staff of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s office, Janos Lazar, told reporters a fence can be set-up on the border with Romania in a short period of time. “We will only do it in the worst-case scenario and not because we want to, but because we have to to defend our country,” he said.

What is Brussels doing?

The European Commission has formally authorised the temporary re-imposition of border controls in Germany and Sweden.

Germany re-established border checks on September the 13th and has since extended them for six months.

Sweden re-instigated border checks to check the flow of migrants coming through Denmark.

The EU decision is similar to others granted to Austria, Hungary and Slovenia when they brought in temporary controls in recent weeks.

EU leaders held an extraordinary summit in Malta on Thursday to discuss the refugee crisis and stronger coordination with Turkey, the main transit country for people heading to Europe.

Turkey, with a key strategic position, is also to be invited to a Brussels summit to enlist its help.

The UK, meanwhile, has committed nearly 400 million euros towards a planned EU fund designed to help Turkey accommodate the two-million plus refugees sheltering on its territory.

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