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ECJ rules Austria's border checks with Hungary and Slovenia breach EU law — here's why

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By Jorge Liboreiro  & Zacharia Vigneron
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Austria has repeatedly extended its land border checks with Hungary and Slovenia.
Austria has repeatedly extended its land border checks with Hungary and Slovenia.   -   Copyright  Matthias Schrader/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

In a potentially precedent-setting ruling, the European Court of Justice has shed light on the contentious topic of border closures within the passport-free Schengen Area, a practice that became widespread during the 2015 migration crisis and again during the 2020 coronavirus outbreak.

The legal case relates to Austria's long-standing border checks with Hungary and Slovenia, which were imposed for the first time in September 2015 to help the country control the flow of new arrivals from neighbouring member states.

Since then, Vienna has extended the temporary measure on a systematic basis, alleging the presence of "secondary movements" at its external borders.

The checks continue to this day, despite a marked decrease in irregular migration.

These repeated renewals have led the ECJ to conclude Austria's policy is no longer used as an exceptional last resort and therefore violates EU law.

Watch the video above to learn more Austria's border checks.