Commission: Greece had “seriously neglected” its obligations to fellow Schengen states

The European Commission on Wednesday accepted a report finding “serious deficiencies” in Greece’s management of the external EU borders, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis announced.

He said the report, based on inspections carried out last November, showed Greece had “seriously neglected” its obligations to fellow Schengen states. Among the problems, it cited inadequate procedures for recording, fingerprinting and inspecting the documents of refugees and migrants, and no connection with data from European services, such as Interpol.

“If the necessary action is not being taken and deficiencies persist, there is a possibility to … allow member states to temporarily close their borders,” Dombrovskis told a news briefing. If the Commission’s conclusions are confirmed by a majority of the 26 Schengen states, he continued, the European Commission will then recommed remedial procedures, giving Greece three months in which to comply.

Noting that Greece had already made some progress since the assessment mission in November, Dombrovskis made it clear that more needed to be done. If Greece failed to comply, he said, the other Schengen-area states could reinstall controls of their national borders with Greece for a period of up to two years, not a maximum of six months as at present.