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EU may bring back border controls, Angela Merkel warns

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A migrant, hoping to cross into Hungary, plays with a child along a railway track outside the village of Horgos in Serbia, towards the border it shares with Hungary, August 31, 2015. The European Union could soon fund and set up new reception facilities for asylum-seekers in Hungary as it is already doing in Italy and Greece, its migration commissioner said on Monday. Saying he would travel to Budapest soon, Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters that the EU executive was ready to offer further help to the government as it takes in large numbers of people crossing the Balkans to reach the European Union and would "if necessary, set up a hotspot in Hungary". REUTERS/Marko Djurica  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

A migrant, hoping to cross into Hungary, plays with a child along a railway track outside the village of Horgos in Serbia, towards the border it shares with Hungary, August 31, 2015. The European Union could soon fund and set up new reception facilities for asylum-seekers in Hungary as it is already doing in Italy and Greece, its migration commissioner said on Monday. Saying he would travel to Budapest soon, Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters that the EU executive was ready to offer further help to the government as it takes in large numbers of people crossing the Balkans to reach the European Union and would "if necessary, set up a hotspot in Hungary". REUTERS/Marko Djurica TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

REUTERS

A migrant, hoping to cross into Hungary, plays with a child along a railway track outside the village of Horgos in Serbia, towards the border it shares with Hungary, August 31, 2015. The European Union could soon fund and set up new reception facilities for asylum-seekers in Hungary as it is already doing in Italy and Greece, its migration commissioner said on Monday. Saying he would travel to Budapest soon, Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters that the EU executive was ready to offer further help to the government as it takes in large numbers of people crossing the Balkans to reach the European Union and would "if necessary, set up a hotspot in Hungary". REUTERS/Marko Djurica TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The European Union could be forced to bring back border controls in the wake of the migrant crisis, warns Angela Merkel.

The German Chancellor said for the first time that the Schengen zone, which allows passport-free travel across mainland Europe, cannot continue in its current form unless other EU countries accept their share of migrants.

Mrs Merkel said that while she did not want freedom of movement rules to be tightened, the issue would arise if responsibility for accepting migrants was not shared.

Her comments echo those made by Thomas de Maiziere, the German interior minister, who also raised the prospect of border controls earlier this month.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses an annual news conference in Berlin, Germany, August 31, 2015.    REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses an annual news conference in Berlin, Germany, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

REUTERS

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses an annual news conference in Berlin, Germany, August 31, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

And they signal that European leaders are beginning to question whether the EU can continue to exist with open borders as it struggles to cope with the hundreds of thousands of migrants coming into the continent from Africa and the Middle East.

Speaking in Berlin, Mrs Merkel said: "Europe as a whole needs to move. Member states must share responsibility for asylum-seeking refugees."

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, is set to receive 800,000 asylum seekers this year, four times the total for 2014 and more than any other EU country."If we don't arrive at a fair distribution then the issue of Schengen will arise - we do not want that,” Mrs Merkel added.

“We stand before a huge national challenge. It will be a central challenge not only for days or months but for a long period of time.”

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PIRAEUS, GREECE - SEPTEMBER 01:  Migrants along with European tourists wait to board a bus heading to Athens Train Station after disembarking a Blue Star ferry from Kos on the Greek mainland port of Piraeus near Athens after a 10 hour ferry ride from the island of Kos on September 1, 2015 in Piraeus, Greece. From Piraeus many migrants continue north to the Greek border crossing at the town of Idomeni where they will cross over into Macedonia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called 'Balkans route' has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The number of people leaving their homes in war torn countries such as Syria, marks the largest migration of people since World War II.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

PIRAEUS, GREECE - SEPTEMBER 01: Migrants along with European tourists wait to board a bus heading to Athens Train Station after disembarking a Blue Star ferry from Kos on the Greek mainland port of Piraeus near Athens after a 10 hour ferry ride from the island of Kos on September 1, 2015 in Piraeus, Greece. From Piraeus many migrants continue north to the Greek border crossing at the town of Idomeni where they will cross over into Macedonia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called 'Balkans route' has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The number of people leaving their homes in war torn countries such as Syria, marks the largest migration of people since World War II. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Getty Images

PIRAEUS, GREECE - SEPTEMBER 01: Migrants along with European tourists wait to board a bus heading to Athens Train Station after disembarking a Blue Star ferry from Kos on the Greek mainland port of Piraeus near Athens after a 10 hour ferry ride from the island of Kos on September 1, 2015 in Piraeus, Greece. From Piraeus many migrants continue north to the Greek border crossing at the town of Idomeni where they will cross over into Macedonia. Since the beginning of 2015 the number of migrants using the so-called 'Balkans route' has exploded with migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey and then travelling on through Macedonia and Serbia before entering the EU via Hungary. The number of people leaving their homes in war torn countries such as Syria, marks the largest migration of people since World War II. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Her comments came as Austria imposed tough new controls along its eastern border with Hungary on Monday.

Queues of cars stretched back 18 miles into Hungary as Austrian police checked every vehicle on the Budapest-Vienna motorway in an attempt to crack down on traffickers smuggling asylum-seekers into the EU.  

Austrian police say more than 200 others were recovered alive on Sunday night.

Telegraph.co.uk


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