Germany imposes border controls

- Oren Dorell

Germany imposed emergency border controls to reduce the flow of migrants entering the country, acknowledg­ing it is struggling to absorb thousands of refugees fleeing Middle East chaos.

The move threatens to worsen the crisis that has engulfed Europe and heighten political tensions within the European Union, which has shown increasing signs of strain.

“Germany is temporaril­y introducin­g border controls again along (the European Union’s) internal borders” starting on its border with Austria, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters Sunday. The aim “is to limit the current inflows to Germany and to return to orderly procedures when people enter the country,” he said.

The move suspends Germany’s participat­ion in the policy adopted by 26 countries in the “Schengen District” that allows travel without passports within the district.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Sunday, after a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the EU’s open-borders policy is at risk unless member countries do more to manage the migrant crisis.

The German restrictio­ns will put pressure again on countries at the periphery of the EU, such as Hungary, Italy and Greece, that have been overwhelme­d with refugees. Hungary is building a 13-foot-high fence on its border with Serbia and is considerin­g using its military to block migrants from entering the country.

Refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East continued to pour into Europe in recent days, seeking to flee violence and find a better life.

Greek authoritie­s announced that 34 migrants, 15 of them children, drowned Sunday when their wooden boat capsized off the Greek island of Farmakonis­si.

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