EU: Austria’s Schengen closure doesn’t violate rules

EU: Austria's Schengen closure doesn't violate rules
Margaritis Schinas. Photo: European Commission
The imposition of stricter border controls by Austria are not in violation of Schengen Agreement rules, according to the EU's chief Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas.

The comments came in the wake of Austria's decision to deploy soldiers to assist with border control at the Italian border.

The move was announced by Austria’s Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil (SPÖ) in an interview carried out with German newspaper Die Welt over the weekend.

“As the EU’s external borders are not yet effectively protected, Austria will soon ramp up strict border controls. That means massive border controls on at the Brenner (Pass), and with soldiers,” he said.

Schinas said that Austria will not violate any Schengen rules if it imposes stricter border controls along the Italian border. However, the introduction of the controls raises new questions over the final closure of the Balkan route, according to a report in EU affairs newspaper New Europe.

“There are conditions under which border controls can be introduced between two Schengen member states. As long as those conditions are respected, the measures on the border control can be implemented,” said Schinas while commenting on the Austrian decision.

He also added that such measures should not come as a surprise as the Austrian government notified the Commission about its intentions in September last year.