Greece asks for fewer bor­der rules

Po­lice says more traf­fic at bor­ders, air­ports makes new Schen­gen Codes tough to ap­ply

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece has sub­mit­ted a re­quest, the sec­ond in the last four months, to be ex­empt from the obli­ga­tion of en­forc­ing sys­tem­atic checks on its bor­ders, Kathimerini un­der­stands.

In a doc­u­ment sent last week to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the Euro­pean bor­der agency Fron­tex and EU mem­ber states, the Greek Po­lice (ELAS) is ask­ing for an 18-month sus­pen­sion of the obli­ga­tion to im­ple­ment new and stricter bor­der checks – in line with amend­ments in March to the Schen­gen Bor­der Codes, which came into ef­fect in April.

Greek au­thor­i­ties are cit­ing in­fras­truc­ture short­com­ings and in­creased traf­fic at 12 air­ports across the coun­try, in­clud­ing Athens In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

ELAS is also also ask­ing for a sus­pen­sion of the new Schen­gen rules at the coun­try’s land bor­ders at the check­points of Ev­zones, on the bor­der with the For­mer Yu­goslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia, as well as Pro­ma­chonas and Nym­phaia bor­der­ing Bul­garia. Ac­cord­ing to ELAS, these check­points deal with large num­bers of trav­el­ers and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new rules could have se­ri­ous con­se­quences on traf­fic.

Po­lice say they will con­tinue “tar­geted” checks of in­di­vid­u­als sus­pected of peo­ple traf­fick­ing or ter­ror­ism, adding that other coun­tries have re­quested sim­i­lar sus­pen­sions.

The amend­ment obliges mem­ber states to con­duct sys­tem­atic checks against data­bases on all per­sons, in­clud­ing those en­joy­ing the right of free move­ment un­der EU law (ie EU ci­ti­zens and mem­bers of their fam­i­lies who are not EU ci­ti­zens) when they cross the ex­ter­nal bor­ders). Greece started to im­ple­ment the rules on April 7, but just two days later, asked and re­ceived a six-month sus­pen­sion due to se­ri­ous bot­tle­necks.

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