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EU Commission supports border checks for 5 Schengen countries

The European Commission is recommending that 5 nations from the borderless Schengen travel zone be allowed to extend internal frontier controls for another three months because of the exceptional circumstances caused by migration into Europe.

The European Union’s executive said Wednesday that EU nations Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and non-member Norway should be allowed to continue the border checks since the arrival of migrants and asylum-seekers into those countries is still significant. The EU Commission specially mentioned Greece, which still has some 60,000 refugees and migrants.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the situation had much improved over the past months but added “we are not there yet unfortunately” when unfettered border crossings should become the norm again.

In another statement the European Commission reported progress in making the new European Border and Coast Guard fully operational.

Three months after the launch of the Agency, important steps have been completed, including the setting up of mandatory rapid reaction pools for border guards and equipment and the launch of new pools for return intervention teams. These can be deployed in support of Member States who have the primary role and competence in reinforcing the control at the external border.

“Currently, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency has more than 1,550 officers deployed to support Member States at their external borders, complementing the existing national capacities of Member States of over 100,000 border guards,” the EC writes in a statement.

Brussels plans to increase funding and staff for the EU agency.

“EU funding for the Agency will gradually increase from €250 million in 2016 to €320 million in 2020 and the Agency’s staff will grow from 400 in 2016 to 1000 staff members in 2020.”

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