Austria ‘temporarily’ suspends Schengen

Werner Faymann [Reuters]

The Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann said on Sunday that (17 January) that the Schengen agreement, which permits the free movement of persons between most EU countries without identity checks, has been ‘temporarily suspended.’

In an interview in Österreich, Faymann said that with the new measures introduced at Austria’s borders, the existence of “the whole EU is in question”.

“All refugees must be controlled, economic migrants must be sent to their countries of origin,” Faymann told the periodical.

The Austrian Defence Ministry announced on Saturday (16 January) that it would be deploying troops to stop refugees who want to transit through Germany.

The government is implementing a strict monitoring system for asylum seekers, the chancellor said, adding that, just like in neighbouring Germany, its border controls are being tightened, and repatriations of refugees are carried out.

“If the EU does not manage to secure the external borders, Schengen as a whole is put into question…Then each country must control its national borders,” Faymann told the newspaper, adding that if the bloc’s external borders are not secured in the near future, “the whole EU [will be] in question.”

It was reported at the weekend that Germany is in favour of a mini-Schengen, comprising itself, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands, in order to teach Italy and Greece a lesson.

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