EU interior ministers debated the migration crisis in Brussels on Friday. Estonian Interior Minister Hanno Pevkur said there are no plans to suspend the Schengen area.
He said media reports of a 2-year suspension of the Schengen treaty or even the end of the agreement were a method to influence Greece.
“It seems Greece has finally understood that they cannot deal with the situation alone and yesterday [Thursday] evening they sent Frontex a request for an additional 886 people to help Greece,” Pevkur said.
Greece will also receive technical help through people who will interview, register migrants. Also translation help and additional forces for the border guard will arrive.
Pevkur said the aim of the European Commission or of Luxembourg, which presides the Council of the EU, is not to suspend Schengen or to eject Greece.
“Instead of that we need to continue working on the migration topic and Greece should on those islands, which are under the greatest pressure, set up registering centers and from there cooperation with European agencies can be began to decide who has the right to stay in Europe and who does not have the right, and who should be sent back,” he said.
No resources to restore border points
Piret Lilleväli, who was the project head of Estonia's drive to become a Schengen member around 10 years ago, said closed borders would be a great step back, economically speaking.
She said no Schengen member has the resources nor the infrastructure to restore borders if the Schengen agreement is retracted.
The Schengen area was established in 1995 and abolished passport and other border controls at their common borders. The area currently has 26 members with Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Croatia also legally obliged to join as EU members. In the EU, only Ireland and the United Kingdom have not joined. Estonia signed the treaty in 2003 and opened its borders in 2007.
Editor: J.M. Laats