Exclusive: Eurogroup Chief "Not Very Optimistic" About Schengen
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, said the right to free movement in the European Union will be hard to uphold in an interview with Handelsblatt and six other European newspapers.
Mr. Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch finance minister, said he is “not very optimistic” about the survival of the Schengen agreement that abolished border controls within most of the European Union.
The countries hit hardest by the current record influx of asylum seekers, particularly Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria and Belgium, might be “forced to take measures to close their borders” in an attempt to deal with the refugee crisis.
The crisis challenges the social welfare state in Europe, he said, adding: “So we have to start talking about protecting our outside borders.”
The countries most affected might join together in a kind of “mini Schengen,” as they share very similar interests, Mr. Dijsselbloem suggested.
He admitted that this is a suboptimal solution that will have negative political and economic effects on the European Union.
The Eurogroup chief also accused other European countries of lacking solidarity. “If some countries are saying ‘this is not my problem, it’s your problem,’ […] that puts a lot of strain on solidarity,” he said.
Read the full story in Friday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 Central European Time.
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