Interior Minister Speaks Out On Schengen - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Interior Minister Speaks Out On Schengen

Published May 16, 2011

As European officials discuss making changes to borders within the Schengen Area, Minister of Interior Ögmundur Jónasson has proposed a number of ideas for Iceland, including withdrawal from the Schengen Area altogether.
The European Commission has recently proposed a number of changes to Europe’s migration regulations, such as imposing greater restrictions on the free-flow of people across borders, which the Schengen Area is supposed to ensure.
The matter has gained greater attention lately, due in part to European worries over asylum seekers and migrant workers. The proposal has received its share of criticism that to put greater restrictions on borders within Europe runs counter to the spirit of Schengen and the European Union.
While Ögmundur was not present at a meeting of European interior ministers, he spoke candidly with Fréttablaðið on the matter, saying Iceland can have an effect on Schengen policy in a number of ways, among them to withdraw from the area altogether.
However, he added that “It seems to me that people are now opening their minds to use the advantages the Schengen Area offers, which includes cooperation between the police and the courts in fighting organised crime.”
The issue of asylum seekers has been gaining greater attention in Iceland lately, especially with the interior minister himself under increasing criticism on Iceland’s treatment of asylum seekers.

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