Austria does not seem to have proven a new reason for border control extension since 2017!
Austrian border controls introduced during the refugee crisis are wobbling, after a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). As the ECJ ruled Today, an EU country in the Schengen area may introduce such controls for a maximum of six months in the event of a serious threat to its public order or internal security. After that, it would need proof of a new serious threat. Austria does not seem to have proven this since 2017.
There are actually no checks on people at borders in the Schengen area, which includes 26 European countries. However, after the refugee crisis in 2015, several states, such as Austria, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, had partially reintroduced such controls.
Some states, including Austria, have extended the measures every six months to date – this is possible for a maximum of up to two years, according to the ECJ, which also requires a corresponding recommendation from the Council. After that period, the member state in question could immediately reintroduce border controls for another six months if there is evidence of a new serious threat, the judges noted.
The Regional Administrative Court of Styria now expressed doubts as to whether the border controls are compatible with Union law, specifically with the Schengen Borders Code and the right of free movement of EU citizens.
This was brought to light by the occasion of an EU citizen who refused to present an identity document when entering Austria at the Slovenian-Austrian border in August and November 2019. This resulted in a fine of 36 euros.
In the case at hand, Austria appears to have “failed to demonstrate the existence of a new threat” since November 2017, the ECJ ruling said. Thus, it said, a person cannot be forced to show a travel document when entering the country from another member state. Ultimately, however, this would have to be examined by the Regional Administrative Court of Styria.