Swiss Review of International and European Law Logo Schulthess juristische Medien AG
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The last years have shown the limits of an area without internal border controls and a asylum system common to multiple States. Despite open borders, there is a high political pressure on Schengen States to “prevent” security risks or “too many” asylum seekers from migrating into their territory. As a result, a number of measures have been taken whose legality under the Schengen acquis or whose effectiveness is questionable. At the common borders with Switzerland, Schengen countries maintain goods related controls, which allow for complementary accessory controls of persons upon initial suspicion. This provides a certain leeway for reinforced controls at these internal borders in reaction to increased migratory flows. However, there are clear limits in that a goods related control does not automatically justify complementary measures such as identity controls or a search in SIS or equivalent national databases. Strict conditions apply to the temporary closure of border crossing points or the construction of infrastructure restricting entry and exit, even when limited to certain parts of the border.