By JANOSCH DELCKER
BERLIN – Germany will continue to run random controls at its border with Austria beyond February of next year, according to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.
“I intend to extend controls … for many more months,” De Maizière told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “Currently, I don’t anticipate an end to them.”
In the face of an influx of refugees, Germany was the first country within the EU’s open-border Schengen area to reintroduce controls at its southern border in September 2015.
Although the number of refugees has gone down significantly since then, the country has repeatedly extended those controls, most recently in November.
Following last Monday’s attack in Berlin, in which 12 were killed by an alleged Islamist terrorist, the incident reignited a discussion about open borders within Europe. Anis Amri, the prime suspect behind the attack, travelled from Germany to Italy via France, before being shot dead by police in Milan on Friday.
De Maizière added some specific measures to the promises made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to toughen up security following the attack, saying Germany would accelerate the deportation of migrants who were denied asylum.
“Right at the beginning of next year, the national government and [Germany’s 16 federal] states will open a joint center to coordinate deportations,” De Maizière told Bild am Sonntag.