Saturday, Jan 22, 2022 | Last Update : 10:30 PM IST

  Europe mulls Schengen’s fate in Amsterdam

Europe mulls Schengen’s fate in Amsterdam

AFP
Published : Jan 26, 2016, 5:51 am IST
Updated : Jan 26, 2016, 5:51 am IST

Greece warned of expulsion from passport-free zone, Austria presses Athens to bolster border

Protests against the ongoing ref-ugee crisis in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Monday. 	— AP
 Protests against the ongoing ref-ugee crisis in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Monday. — AP

Greece warned of expulsion from passport-free zone, Austria presses Athens to bolster border

European Union interior ministers on Monday urged Greece to do more to control the infl-ux of migrants, some threatening to exclude it from the continent’s prized passport-free tra-vel zone as the crisis increasingly divides the bloc’s members.

 

Greece was the main gateway to Europe for more than a million re-fugees and migrants who reached the EU in 2015. But it has been criticised for a failure to control the flow of arrivals, which have sh-own little sign of falling over the winter months.

The EU has taken various steps to give cash-strapped Athens financial assistance to deal with the crisis, but ma-ny member states bel-ieve Athens is not using that enough. Of five registration “hot spot” centres that were due to be set up for migrants arriving in Greece, only one is running so far.

Athens says the numbers are impossible to manage and blames the other 27 EU states for not offering real help. The crisis has put the passport-free Schengen zone — hailed by top EU officials as the greatest achievement of Europ-ean integration — on the verge of collapse.

 

Amid the escalating crisis, Austria on Mon-day stepped up pressure on frontline Greece to bolster the European Union’s main external border against the flood of asylum seekers as EU ministers met anew to tackle the crisis. “If we cannot protect the external EU border, the Greek-Turkish border, then the Schengen exte-rnal border will move towards central Euro-pe,” said Austria’s interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner. “Greece must increase its resou-rces as soon as possible and accept help,” she said on arriving at info-rmal interior minister talks in Amsterdam.

“It is a myth that the Greek-Turkish border cannot be protected. Th-e Greek Navy has eno-ugh capacities to secure this border — It is one of the biggest navies in Europe,” she added.

 

Meanwhile, EU ministers were due to open talks on Monday in Amsterdam on ways to save the Schengen zone from collapse under migrant flows and tackle the jihadist scourge as a new counter-terrorism centre is launched.

The two-day meeting of interior and justice ministers is the first under the six-month Dutch European Union presidency that aims to broker a deal by June 30 on setting up a new pan-European border and Coast Guard force. Tal-ks on terrorism remai-ns at the top of the agenda following the November 13 Paris atta-cks. EU officials said no decisions will be taken at what is an informal meeting, which opens at 08.00 GMT (01.30 IST Tuesday).

 

Location: Netherlands, Noord-Holland, Amsterdam