Greece and Germany continuing to work to resolve border control issue, Avramopoulos says

Greek and German authorities are continuing to work together to resolve the issue concerning the border controls for Greek passengers at German airports, European Commission for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

“I, in turn, encourage the continuation of this cooperation,” Avramopoulos said, replying to Greek MEPs, adding that the European Commission was in contact with authorities in both countries and had arranged for a meeting between Greek, German and Commission experts on November 22 on this issue.

This meeting had allowed a constructive exchange of views and a discussion on practical issues to minimise the inconvenience for passengers, the Commissioner said, adding that he had been pleased to receive Germany’s assurances that such controls will only take place at the gate within the Schengen area in German airports.

Such controls were confined to checking ID and the validity of travel documents, he said.
“We have received no information to the contrary from either the German or the Greek side until now,” Avramopoulos noted, while he also expressed satisfaction with the clarifications from Greek authorities about tighter controls at Greek airports.

“We will continue to cooperate closely and always in a constructive spirit with Germany and Greece to resolve this issue,” he added.

Regarding controls in Belgium, Avramopoulos said that the information he was given by Belgian authorities referred to non-systematic, random police checks at Brussels airport on the basis of risk assessments that were not confined to flights from Greece but also from other EU member-states.

Greek authorities carried out similar checks when there was a higher perceived risk, Avramopoulos pointed out, while all EU member-states have this right and exercise it at times, in response to warnings.

Avramopoulos suggested that there had been an exaggerated reaction to an essentially isolated incident, noting that he also travelled to Belgium from Greece and had not noticed anything different. He also pointed out that such police controls are provided for under the Schengen code.