Malta and Greece said on Wednesday that they would support changes to the Schengen Treaty on Freedom of Movement in the Schengen Area as long as they do not further disadvantage countries on the bloc’s southern rim.
“I’m in favour of review providing it reduces the burden and does not make it heavier, for countries on the southern edge of the EU, said Deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg during a visit to Athens.“I hope the revision of the Schengen Treaty will not mean creating walls and gates, but a move toward solidarity,” he said. Justice Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici said on Wednesday that reintroducing border controls within the EU would be a “great step backwards.” For his part, Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said after meeting Dr Borg: “Greece is open to a revision of Schengen, but that should help Mediterranean countries.”
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed Tuesday to push for “reforms” to the Schengen treaty under which internal border controls would resume temporarily in times of surging migration.The EU neighbours met to settle a row over the influx of migrants, notably Tunisians, in the wake of popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.
Italy has accused EU partners of abandoning it in the fight against economic immigration, while Paris has accused Rome of abusing Schengen by issuing temporary residence permits and travel documents to migrants in the knowledge that many French-speaking Tunisians want to go to France.Italy has issued documents to some 25,000 Tunisians who had arrived illegally on its shores.The European Commission is drawing up “precise conditions” under which states unhappy with the realities of borderless travel across the Schengen area may temporarily police internal frontiers once more.
(Times of Malta)