Angela Merkel said that security checks were to remain on internal German borders until the protection of the European Union’s external borders operates differently.
Germany is one of four EU countries that introduced internal ID checks in 2015 and has repeatedly allowed to prolong them at set intervals responding to a massive migrant influx.
“Until the protection of the EU’s external borders operates as a whole as we imagine, it is absolutely right that controls should be maintained at the crucial sections of the internal borders,” she said in an interview with Ouest-France on Tuesday (September 12).
The German Chancellor also said that she had “clearly” made the point to Juncker, that Germany could not yet give up their national borders.
Merkel made the comments ahead of Euronews’ #AskJuncker event on Thursday (September 14) when he told Isabelle Kumar that open borders were “not an invitation for terrorists to move freely”, adding “sooner or later we are going to have to get away from these border controls.”
The EU President also expressed plans to widen the Schengen area, in which passport-free travel is allowed, during his State of the Union address on Wednesday (September 13).
Juncker said that Bulgaria and Romania should “immediately” join the EU’s borderless Schengen area, followed later by Croatia once it meets all the requirements.
He also pointed out some 1,700 officers from the new European Border and Coast Guard were now helping Member States’ 100,000 national border guards to patrol external borders in places like Greece, Italy, Bulgaria and Spain.
Speaking after she met French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Merkel told French media that Juncker’s proposal to widen the Schengen area was “a reasonable approach”.
She continued that countries from “Bulgaria to Greece” should join the EU, providing they have the necessary “prerequisites”, adding that she believes this widening of the union would give “more security than that it does us less safety”.