Temporary border controls set up inside the European Union’s free-travel zone to cope with the migration crisis should be extended beyond a November 15 expiry, the European Commission proposed on Tuesday.
The controls in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and non-EU nation Norway – members of the Schengen zone where there are usually no passport checks – need to continue for another three months, the EU executive said.
"Despite the progressive stabilization of the situation, the Commission considers that the conditions… for a return to a normally functioning Schengen area are not yet fully met," it said.
With unprecedented numbers of people fleeing war or poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, the national border checks were re-imposed to stem the movement of undocumented migrants through Europe after landing in Greece or Italy.
Arrivals have dropped sharply after a deal in March with Turkey to halt migrant boats and since the EU helped Balkan states control their borders with Greece. Many migrants are still reaching Italy from Libya.
Some eastern European states have opposed sharing out asylum seekers between EU countries, angering Italy and Greece where tens of thousands are stuck, as well as Germany and Sweden which have been the final destinations for many migrants. [Reuters]