The European Union (EU) said it will host emergency talks on Wednesday with Denmark, Sweden and Germany about new migrant border checks that have sparked fresh concerns about Europe's Schengen passport-free zone.
EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos called the meeting in Brussels after Denmark implemented spot checks on its border with Germany, and Sweden imposed its own controls on travellers from Denmark. "The goal of this meeting is to improve coordination between the concerned countries in order to ensure better management of the migratory pressure," European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Tuesday.
The talks will involve Swedish migration minister Morgan Johansson, Danish immigration minister Inger Stoejberg and Ole Schroder, a German interior ministry official, said the Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation European Union. Brussels is studying the legality of the actions, including new Swedish measures requiring travellers between Denmark and Sweden to show their ID cards for the first time since the late 1950s, when a Nordic agreement on passport-free travel came into force.
Stockholm and Copenhagen both informed the European Commission about the new measures they adopted on Monday in response to a huge movement of more than one million refugees and migrants, mainly from Syria, over the past year. "It appears to be a situation covered by the rules," commission spokeswoman Tove Ernst said when asked about Denmark's move. "We will closely monitor the situation."
Faced by Europe's largest migration crisis since World War II, several countries including Germany, Austria and France have taken advantage recently of Schengen rules allowing them to re-introduce border checks for up to six months in exceptional circumstances. Sweden, which has taken in more asylum seekers per capita than any other EU nation, recently said it could no longer cope with the unregulated flow of arrivals.