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EU Schengen nations bring back border controls

schengen-stop-448x293Yesterday saw the re-introduction of border controls on the frontiers of some Schengen Area EU nations. Austria and Hungary are in the process of introducing controls at their border crossings in response to the wave of immigrants sweeping across Europe.

The move follows a similar one on Sunday in which Germany re-introduced security and immigration checks along its common border with Austria. The most important principle of the Schengen treaty was uncontrolled access by citizens of member nations to other countries in the bloc.

Border controls were scrapped two decades ago, yet the open-borders policy now looks like a thing of the past. Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann and vice-chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner chaired a press conference yesterday and stated that if Germany was re-introducing stricter border security then Austria needed to do likewise.

Austria is deploying military personnel to reinforce policing along its border with Hungary. In Hungary, the government ordered police to block a railway crossing used as a way of sneaking into the EU. A goods-van festooned with barbed-wire was shunted into place at the crossing while soldiers and horseback police officers stood guard.

The closure of open borders by Germany, Austria and Hungary has caused other Schengen countries to announce they are making changes and reviewing their own policies. The government of Slovakia says it will start operating security checks at crossings on its boundaries with Austria and Hungary.

The Netherlands says its immigration officers and police will introduce random spot-checks. Even northern European nations like Sweden say they are reviewing their current procedures to decide whether they offer enough security in the present climate.

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