EU prolongs migrant border controls

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border controls scandinavia

The European Union says it will allow Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and non-EU country Norway to prolong ID checks at their borders but want the migrant controls phased out by November.

The five are members of Europe’s passport-free travel area. A year ago, as Greece struggled to maintain control of its maritime border because of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants, the five introduced ID checks for security reasons.

They have prolonged them for six months twice since May 14 2016, but may only do so once more. Systematic ID checks are banned in the area, known as Schengen.

Rescue migrants

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Tuesday that controls will be prolonged, but he called on “member states to phase them out” over six months.

In an earlier development a prosecutor based in Sicily told Italian senators he hadn’t found any links or contacts between migrant smugglers and humanitarian organisations operating rescue boats in the Mediterranean.

Last month, another Sicilian prosecutor raised the alarm by saying his probe had found that some NGOs, created specifically to rescue migrants from smugglers’ boats, could be in collusion with human traffickers based in Libya, from where the vessels were launched.

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