Austria Suspends Schengen, Imposes Border Control Amid Refugee Crisis
Austria Suspends Schengen, Imposes Border Control Amid Refugee Crisis © AP Photo/ Ronald Zak
21:44 16.01.2016(updated 00:56 17.01.2016) Get short URL
The Austrian government temporarily suspended the Schengen agreement, imposing full border control measures on everyone entering the country, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann told the newspaper Oesterreich in an interview.
“Everyone who is coming to us would be carefully checked at the border,” Fayman told Oesterreich.
Chancellor Faymann said that from now on Austria would “similar to Germany” have a more strict border control and deport people who, lacking the proper refugee identification, out of the country.
“At border control points everyone has to show a valid ID to Austrian authorities,” Faymann said, adding that if the EU cannot provide the security at its external borders, countries should start controlling their own national borders, according to the Austrian newspaper.
Austria plans to use its army to stop refugees from entering the country. Most refugees are trying to reach Germany and apply for asylum there, but to get to Germany they need to hike across Austria.
The move of the Austrian government essentially means that the Schengen agreement is thrown out the window. The Schengen zone has currently 26 members, including most EU members and four non-EU members.
The idea behind the agreement is that the citizens of Schengen countries can access any country without the need to go through border controls and visitors can travel across the Schengen zone with one common visa that applies throughout the entire Schengen zone.
Earlier this week, other Schengen countries, including Norway, Sweden and Denmark, also temporarily suspended the Schengen agreement and restored border control measures at their national borders.
Europe is currently struggling to cope with a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety and refuge in the stable and wealthy EU states.