Europe is about to warn Greece that it has six weeks to stop migrants crossing from Turkey or it will be forced out of the Schengen zone for two years, says a London Times report.
Germany, Austria, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark will warn on Monday that Greece has six weeks to stop migrants crossing from Turkey or it will be “quarantined” outside the borderless Schengen zone.
European Commission on Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos has repeatedly stated that European Union law does not allow for a country to be forced out of the Schengen zone.
“If the Athens government does not finally do more to secure the external borders then one must openly discuss Greece’s temporary exclusion from the Schengen zone,” Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Austria’s interior minister, told Welt am Sonntag last week. “It is a myth that the Greco-Turkish border cannot be controlled.” Northern European countries have expressed similar sentiments on the issue.
A meeting of European interior ministers will discuss plans for Greece to be sealed off for two years behind a new EU external border in the Balkans.
According to the report, there is a plan B discussed for the EU’s passport-free Schengen area. The plan says that Europe’s external border would become Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary, staffed by EU border guards with powers to turn back migrants heading to Germany or Sweden.
Asylum seekers not prepared to stay in Slovenia, Croatia or Hungary to be processed would be pushed back to Greece and Turkey. With the help of armed EU border guards, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is building a three-meter razor-wire fence along its border with Greece.
“The easiest plan is to put Greece in sealed quarantine,” an EU diplomat told The Times.
In order to expedite processing migrants who make it through the Balkans, Germany is discussing setting up registration centers along the frontier with Austria to speed up the repatriation of non-qualifying asylum seekers.
Thomas de Maiziere, Germany’s Interior Minister, said that police were turning away 200 of the 2000 migrants trying to enter Germany every day, usually people seeking asylum in Sweden, the Netherlands or Denmark.
Austria has set a limit of 37,500 places for asylum seekers this year. “What we are experiencing has little to do with seeking protection but the search for the most attractive country,” Mikl-Leitner said. “We cannot go on like this.”