The Brussels terror attacks have intensified concerns over the future of the EU’s open-border system.
Checks have been stepped-up in recent days but the economic costs of such controls are mounting.
CCTV America’s Guy Henderson reports along the Austria-Germany border.
Concerns mount over EU open border systemThe Brussels terror attacks have intensified concerns over the future of the EU's open-border system. Checks have been stepped-up in recent days but the economic costs of such controls are mounting. CCTV America's Guy Henderson reports along the Austria-Germany border.
While refugees remain the focus of police checks at the German-Austrian border since Brussels attacks, police are also on the lookout for fugitives.
Europe’s open borders are under assault on several fronts. That’s left nearby businesses even more worried.
Kurt Ratzesberger’s customers come from all over both countries and few shops sell his specialty pet breeds. He’s lost a third of his business and let go of four workers since checks were introduced.
Freilassing, German-Austrian border is a town of 16,000 or so people has done particularly well out of Schengen because with the open border to Austria so close it’s been able to easily double its customer base.
But walking down the high street now, businesses say they’ve seen a dramatic change in fortunes with some reporting a loss in sales of up to 70 percent.
Europe’s migrant deal with Turkey may decide Freilassing’s fate. If it works, borders may start to re-open.
The European Commission warns keeping them closed could cost the continent $19.6 billion every year.
“This would be a massive blow to the European economy which is already actually crumbling. The second element is more symbolic: Schengen and the free movement of people is one of the major achievements of European integration,” Julian Rappold, European integration expert, German council on foreign relations said.
The queues may be modest but the cumulative cost of even small delays is adding up.