Horst Seehofer, the German Interior Minister, has once more initiated the move to extend Germany’s internal border checks with neighboring Austria for an additional six months. This decision was made just as he had just vowed earlier that he would “do everything possible to push for smart controls at the borders.”
On September 25, 2019, the German Interior Ministry through its Spokesperson Steve Alter, announced that Germany would extend the border checks from November 11, the original date they were scheduled to expire, for six more months.
This is the tenth time since 2015 that the German authorities deemed it necessary to extend border checks with Southern neighbor Austria citing the growing influx of illegal migrants. The big influx of people seeking international protection and the secondary movements in the EU are Germany’s primary concerns in continuously extending its border controls.
In the last week of September, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament agreed to discuss with the ministers of the European Union on the revision of time limits and conditions for the initiation within the Schengen Area of temporary internal border checks.
Amendments have been proposed, which includes shortening the initial period for border checks from the current six to two months. Additionally, it maintained that the reintroduction of the internal border should only be decided as a last recourse.
The German authorities have cited various reasons every time they extend the border checks with Austria and they are summarized as follows:
- From November 14, 2015 to May 13, 2016 – Germany provided international protection in all its borders with a special focus on its land border with Austria because of the big influx of migrants who are seeking international protection.
- From May 12, 2016 to November 12, 2016 – In line with the Recommendation of the Council of May 12, 2016 Article 29 of the SBC, Germany extended its border controls with to Austria.
- From November 12, 2016 to February 12, 2017 – Upon the Recommendation of the Council of November 11, 2016, Germany extended its land border with Austria.
- From February 11, 2017 to May 11, 2017 – The land-border with Austria was extended in line with the Recommendation of the Council of February 7, 2017.
- From May 11, 2017 to November 11, 2017 – The German-Austrian border was extended in line with the Recommendation of the Council of May 11, 2017.
- From November 12, 2017 to May 12, 2018 – The land-border with Austria was extended and checks with flight connections from Greece were introduced because of the European security situations and the potential threats from the continuous secondary movements.
- Rom May 12, 2018 to November 11, 2018 – The land border with Austria was extended due to the concerns on security in the region and the continuous secondary movements.
- From November 12, 2018 to May 11, 2019 – The land border with Austria was extended due to the concerns on security in Europe and the continuous secondary movements.
From May 12, 2019 to November 11, 2019 – The land border with Austria was extended due to Austria’s migration and security policy.