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European Countries Tighten Borders

 The European Union is dealing with an increase in legal and illegal arrivals by migrants, prompting some member states to temporarily re-introduce border controls within what is normally a zone of free movement.

The bloc’s Schengen rules allow such action “as a last resort” in cases that are deemed serious threats to internal security or public policy.

These countries have reinstated stricter checks:

Austria introduced checks at its border with the Czech Republic in October, set to last until Dec. 6.

As of November, it extended border controls with Slovenia and Hungary until May 2024, citing pressure on the asylum reception system, threats of arms trafficking, criminal networks linked to the war in Ukraine, and people smuggling.

Denmark in August tightened border control for arrivals, including those from Schengen countries, at Copenhagen airport to boost security after incidents of Koran burnings.

It has prolonged checks on the Danish-German land border and in ports with ferry connections to Germany until May 2024, according to an EU commission report.

The government said it was responding to an increase in irregular migration, and cited threats posed by terrorism and organised crime, foreign intelligence espionage and the war in Ukraine.

Germany announced controls in September on its land borders with Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, set to stay in place until Dec. 4. Berlin said it needed to respond to an immigration surge and high levels of smuggling.

Germany, which has Europe’s biggest economy, has seen a sharp increase of first-time asylum requests this year.

Berlin has also extended land border checks with Austria until May 2024, saying this was in response to what it called a strain on its asylum reception system, security threats linked to Middle East terrorism, and the war in Ukraine.

Italy reinstated police checks at its northeast land border with Slovenia as of Oct. 21, saying some migrants in transit on the Balkan route could be terrorists.

The controls will be in place at least until Dec. 9. Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said in October they would likely be extended into next year.

* Norway, which belongs to the Schengen arrangement but is not an EU member, reinstated border controls in its ports with ferry connections to the Schengen area as of Nov. 12. It pointed to threats to its on-shore and off-shore infrastructure, and from foreign intelligence services.

Source : Reuters