No plans to ‘exclude’ Greece from Schengen, Commission spox Bertaud says

25 January 2016
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There are no plans to either exclude Greece from Schengen or for the “suspension” of the treaty for two years, European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said on Monday.

“No such possibility exists,” said Bertaud, a spokeswoman for European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos.

She clarified that the only possible course was to activate articles 19 and 26 of the treaty, which allowed the reintroduction of border controls within the Schengen area for up to two years in the case that the situation with the guarding of the external borders has not improved.

Community sources said that the European Commission’s proposals for the activation of the above two articles will be ready in two weeks, since Greece must be given three months in which to correct the “continuing shortcomings”. The maximum period for maintaining controls on internal boders, including Germany, ends in May.

Bertaud said the decision to activate the two articles will be taken to save Schengen, citing a statement by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that “We will save Schengen by applying Schengen”.

Asked about the situation on the borders between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bertaud said that Greece is expected to register and fingerprint all those entering its territory and to follow normal asylum procedures, denying entry to all those not seeking international protection from Greece, as laid out in the Geneva Convention.

She noted that since October, the 12 heads of state along the so-called “Western Balkans” route had made a commitment to stop sending migrants on to other neighbouring countries.

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