The German Minister of Interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich, has asked that the Schengen agreement not be applied to Greeks travelers. The German government seems to be very concerned with the giant problem of illegal immigration in Greece, so much so that German airports have unofficially re-introduced passport checks and ID confirmations on every traveler coming from Greece.
According to an interview he gave to national daily paper Rheinische Post, Friedrich suggested that there should be more border controls in the area where the Schengen agreement applies.
“We need those controls not only when big events take place, such as football matches or summits, but also when Member States fail to abide by their commitments. If for example, countries like Greece are not capable of guarding their borders, then border controls must temporarily be implemented in the affected Member States,” the German Minister warns in his interview, announcing that he will cooperate with his French counterpart Claude Guéant to make any necessary adjustments in the legal framework of the Schengen agreement.
Pro Asyl General Secretary Günter Burkhardt called Friedrich’s statements “pure populism.” “Instead of turning Europe into a mansion, it would be better that all of us try to create a better refugee protection system and share the responsibility of their arrival with a sense of solidarity,” he stated.
The revision of the Schengen agreement has entered the EU agenda since last year when France set off a spat with Italy after it reintroduced border controls to stem the flow of thousands of migrants during the Arab spring uprisings. In his re-election bid for the presidency, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has moreover threatened he would pull France out of the visa-free zone in an effort to tackle the thorny issue of illegal immigration, according to his recent statements.