EU states seek extension of border controls within Schengen

Armed French gendarmes stand next to a toll station as they check vehicles and verify the identity of travellers on the A2 motorway between Paris and Brussels near Thun L'Eveque, France, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - European Union countries have asked the bloc’s executive to prepare for the extension of temporary border controls within the Schengen free-travel zone for up to two years, Dutch Migration Minister Klaas Dijkhoff said on Monday.

Struggling to control Europe’s worst migration crisis in decades, some Schengen countries have reintroduced controls on the area’s internal borders.

“Currently, the temporary border measures can be taken only for a limited period of six months. But the unprecedented influx of asylum seekers, which compelled member states to take these measures nationally, have not decreased yet,” Dijkhoff, who chaired the EU ministerial meeting in Amsterdam, told a news conference.

“So member states invited the (European) Commission to prepare the legal and practical basis for the continuance of temporary border measures through Article 26 of the Schengen border code,” he said of the an article that allows to have controls at internal borders in place for up to two years.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alastair Macdonald