EU interior ministers will discuss a proposal on Friday that could allow new border controls between European states for up to two years as an unprecedented migration crisis strains the Schengen free-travel zone.
The possibility is part of a discussion paper prepared by the Luxembourg government, which will chair Friday’s ministerial meeting, in response to concerns over the integrity of the 26-nation Schengen area under the pressure of hundreds of thousands of people trying to reach prosperous EU countries.
Most enter Europe through Greece. Some EU governments, notably in Eastern Europe, have suggested Greece could be suspended from the Schengen area if it fails to do more to control immigration.
Luxembourg, whose own minister Jean Asselborn spoke out on Wednesday against expelling Greece or paring back the Schengen area to a hard core of richer states, proposed four topics for debate, according to a document seen by Reuters.
First, improving communication among states before imposing temporary controls on their internal Schengen frontiers; second, securing external borders; third, improved checks to track unregistered migrants inside Schengen; and fourth, longer term internal border control.