Greece has submitted a request, the second in the last four months, to be exempt from the obligation of enforcing systematic checks on its borders, Kathimerini understands.
In a document sent last week to the European Commission, the European border agency Frontex and EU member states, the Greek Police (ELAS) is asking for an 18-month suspension of the obligation to implement new and stricter border checks – in line with amendments in March to the Schengen Border Codes, which came into effect in April.
Greek authorities are citing infrastructure shortcomings and increased traffic at 12 airports across the country, including Athens International Airport.
ELAS is also also asking for a suspension of the new Schengen rules at the country’s land borders at the checkpoints of Evzones, on the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as Promachonas and Nymphaia bordering Bulgaria.
According to ELAS, these checkpoints deal with large numbers of travelers and the implementation of the new rules could have serious consequences on traffic, especially during the summer months.
Police say they will continue “targeted” checks of individuals suspected of people trafficking or terrorism, adding that other countries have also requested similar suspensions to the new rules.
The amendment obliges member states to conduct systematic checks against relevant databases on all persons, including those enjoying the right of free movement under EU law (ie EU citizens and members of their families who are not EU citizens) when they cross the external borders).
Greece started to implement the new rules on April 7, but just two days later, asked and received a six-month suspension due to serious bottlenecks, mainly at Athens International Airport.