EU: Expert discusses coronavirus impact on Schengen area
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The Greek leaders insisted members of the European Union must stay “vigilant” and ensure their borders are defended. Crowds of Middle East migrants amassing at the Polish border with Belarus have ignited fears of a repeat of the migrant crisis of 2015. Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Good Morning Britain the EU must stand firm and control access through its borders to protect one of the tenets of the union, freedom of movement around the so-called Schengen Area.
He said: “We’ve been rather vigilant in terms of protecting our borders while at the same time respecting fundamental rights.
“We are, on a daily basis, saving tens if not hundreds of people at sea while at the same time trying to break the smugglers’ networks.
“What people need to understand is that this is a very, very dangerous trip and unless you manage to send a clear message that you protect your borders, more people will try to enter into Greece or into the UK illegally.
“We cannot have a Schengen zone – which is a zone of free movement of people – unless we protect the Union’s external borders.”
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Prime Minister Mitsotakis added: “And this is what we’re trying to do, rather effectively I would argue because migrant and refugee flows are down significantly in the past two years.”
The Schengen Area has repeatedly come under pressure in recent years following the mass arrival of migrants and refugees into the European Union in recent years.
Ongoing unrest and economic woes have renewed efforts from migrants to seek access to the bloc, sparking tense confrontation between Union member states.
Belarus and Poland have been at loggerheads for weeks after Minsk was accused of manufacturing a crisis by allegedly offering migrants passage to the Polish border.
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