Athens wary of bor­der changes

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece is against any ma­jor changes to un­fet­tered cross­bor­der travel within the Euro­pean Union (the so-called Schen­gen sys­tem), ac­cord­ing to Cit­i­zens’ Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter Chris­tos Papout­sis, as the de­bate picks up about how Europe should re­spond to the grow­ing num­ber of im­mi­grants com­ing from North African coun­tries.

“Greece be­lieves that the free move­ment of peo­ple within the Schen­gen area has to be pro­tected at all costs be­cause it is the most ba­sic tenet of Euro­pean in­te­gra­tion,” said Papout­sis fol­low­ing a meet­ing with the heads of the po­lice, coast guard and in­tel­li­gence ser­vices on Tues­day.

France and Italy have pressed for changes to the Schen­gen Agree­ment, which ap­plies to 25 coun­tries, be­cause of fears that they will be in­un­dated by asy­lum and im­mi­gra­tion ap­pli­ca­tions due to the un­rest in coun­tries in North Africa.

EU Home Af­fairs Com­mis­sioner Ce­cilia Malm­strom has sug­gested that the con­trols could be changed when the EU’s ex­ter­nal borders come un­der “heavy un­ex­pected pres­sure.”

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