The EU Debate Over Migration Is Heating Up—Again

The EU Debate Over Migration Is Heating Up—Again
Austrian policemen check passports at the Slovakian border to keep migrants from entering without authorization, in Kittsee, Austria, Sept. 29, 2022 (AP photo by Theresa Wey).

The effects of the migration surge to the European Union are being keenly felt at the union’s internal borders, which are normally fully open and imperceptible, like those between U.S. states. But for months now, “temporary” border checks have been imposed for people going from south to north, from Italy to France and Slovenia to Austria. The same is true from Austria to Germany, from Germany to Denmark and from Denmark to Sweden.

It’s not as intense as a border check between EU and non-EU countries. Officers wave cars through if the occupants don’t look suspicious. They are looking for one thing: people-smugglers bringing migrants into the EU via the Balkan route. There are no checks in the southbound directions.

Such internal border checks are illegal under the EU’s passport-free Schengen rules. However, countries can apply for six-month temporary exemptions to the rules in emergencies, and six EU countries currently have such exemptions in force. But many of these exemptions have in practice been in place for years now. They are just renewed every six months, stretching the credibility of the Schengen system. The European Commission has not yet taken a stand against this abuse of the rules by France, Germany and others.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review