Athens given deadlines for Schengen requirements

5 March 2016
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Greece was handed Friday a timeline for the improvements it has to make in its border controls by May, as the European Commission presented a step-by-step plan to implement measures, including a new EU border and coast guard, to curb the influx of refugees and migrants to Europe.

“We cannot have free movement internally if we cannot manage our external borders effectively,” Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said, as he presented the report ahead of Monday’s summit between the EU and Turkey.

According to the Commission’s document, Greece has by March 12 to present its action plan to address concerns about its border controls and explain what action it is taking to correct failings discovered during an inspection in November.

Exactly a month later, Brussels will deliver its assessment on the Greek action plan.

A new Schengen evaluation will be carried out by EU experts, who will inspect Greece’s land and sea borders, from April 11-17.

Finally, Athens will have to report to the European Council by May 12 on the steps it has taken to meet its recommendations.

The report presented Friday estimates that the collapse of passport-free travel in the 26-nation Schengen zone could cost the European economy up to 18 billion euros a year.

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