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"Mini-Schengen" without Greece under consideration

19 November 2015 / 18:11:14  GRReporter
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Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are to draw up a plan to exclude Greece from the Schengen Zone, reads today's publication of the British newspaper The Daily Mail.

Under the plan, Eastern European countries as well as Italy and Spain will have to leave the zone along with Greece. Their removal will result in a "mini-Schengen Zone" which will introduce strict control measures.

In this way, the authorities in the member states will be able to inspect the passports of all who arrive in their countries from outside the zone and check their names in the counter-terrorism databases.

According to the newspaper, the particular plan will be tabled during tomorrow's meeting of European Union Ministers of Interior and Justice.

The newspaper refers to a European diplomat and points out that all in Europe recognize that the Schengen Zone is in trouble. "We have not yet arrived at a solution but informal discussions are ongoing until the meeting on Friday, which present conflicting positions," he told The Daily Mail.

The scenario for the contraction of the Schengen Zone has been under consideration since the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday, as the influx of refugees and migrants to the European Union has not abated during all the subsequent days.

The Daily Mail publication has provoked a reaction from the European Commission. According to the Reuters agency, one of its spokesmen, whose name is not mentioned, indicated that Brussels had not received a formal proposal for the establishment of a "mini-Schengen Zone" within the existing area of ​​free movement in the European Union.

"Tomorrow, the member states will have the opportunity to discuss the control on the external borders and the measures against the terrorist threat," she said.

A number of media state that the idea to create a "mini-Schengen Zone" belongs to the Dutch government that has discussed it at both its meetings and with other European partners. Interior Minister of Germany Thomas de Maiziere stated at a news conference in Berlin that his Dutch colleague presented the idea to him, adding that Germany was not enthusiastic about the Dutch proposal. "Our political objective should be the functioning of the Schengen Zone as a whole," said de Maiziere.

The Dutch proposal differs from the French plan for the introduction of systematic border controls within the Schengen Zone in the context of applying security measures after the bloody attacks in Paris last Friday. According to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraf, the plan of the country’s government provides for the construction of transit refugee camps outside the "mini-Schengen Zone".

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Bert Kunders confirmed this information, adding that new measures are being discussed every day. "The Netherlands and other countries are discussing different solutions," said Janet Takens, spokeswoman for the Dutch Ministry of Justice, which is in charge of migration too. "We have regular talks with countries that have similar positions," she added, without providing any details.

Yesterday the chairman of the parliamentary group of the ruling Party of Freedom and Democracy expressed support for the idea of ​​creating a "mini-Schengen Zone" whereas the leader of the Workers' Party, which participates in the government coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, said he sees "complications and obstacles" in implementing this plan.

Tags: PoliticsSchengen Zonemini SchengenGreeceMeeting of EU Ministers of Interior and JusticeRefugee floodTerrorist attacks in Paris
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