The European Commission has formally authorized the institution of temporary border controls in Sweden and Germany. The countries had long been seen as a safe haven for people fleeing war. The moves are being made in order to limit the number of Middle Eastern refugees that are entering into the countries.
Germany originally put stronger border controls into place on September 13. These controls were supposed to be put into place for a temporary period of just two months, but now Germany has decided to extend this period. The country says that the border controls will put in place for a maximum of six months.
The European Commission said in a statement, “The temporary reintroduction of border controls between member states is an exceptional possibility explicitly foreseen in and regulated by the Schengen Borders Code, in case of a serious threat to public policy or internal security.”
In Sweden, officials have started conducting checks of passengers on trains. Anyone without proper papers has been escorted away. At one station, more than 50 people were taken away during a time period of one and a half hours.
The country has long featured open borders, but now officials are saying that this policy is causing tremendous strain on the country. Officials say that if the flow is not limited, the entire economy will quickly fall apart.
Similar approvals have been granted in the European countries of Austria, Hungary and Slovenia where they instituted similar temporary border controls in recent weeks. Some of these countries have taken the matter of preventing immigrants into their own hands.
Slovenia has been working to construct a razor-wire fence in order to keep immigrants out. Meanwhile, Austria is also reportedly building a fence of their own. The barrier in Austria is expected to be completed in less than six weeks.
Officials in Austria have said that the fence is part of temporary measures designed to limit the influx of refugees. The Austrians have insisted that they are not going to keep all immigrants out, but instead they just want to limit the flow.
Reports indicate that the fence in Austria will be 7.2 feet tall. It will initially be a regular fence, but officials have stated that they will add barbed wire if the situation escalates in nature. Originally they wanted to build a larger fence, but its neighbor of Slovenia said that it wasn’t necessary.
While it’s no surprise that countries are looking to limit their acceptance of refugees, the situation could be very dangerous once winter hits. If the immigrants cannot find a place to go by then, it is very possible that they could die from the elements.
Indeed, the situation could very quickly become more serious than it already is.