Avramopoulos: Free-travel zone must be protected


One day after the European Commission proposed that temporary border controls inside the European Union’s free-travel zone be extended for up to three years during a crisis, EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos said that the Schengen area, where passport checks are normally not required, must be protected at all costs.

“If the Schengen zone collapses it will be the beginning of the end of Europe,” Avramopoulos said during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the Maximos Mansion in Athens Thursday while warning against “some worrying trends” in Europe. He was not more specific.

Border checks introduced by Germany, Austria, Denmark and Norway to deal with an influx of migrants and refugees in 2015 are set to expire in November. If adopted by EU governments, the Commission’s proposal will allow these states to extend controls for another year if “exceptional” threats to internal security should arise.