Belgium could reintroduce border checks

The Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, has said he's prepared to reintroduce border checks and only allow people with valid papers access to the country. Mr Francken was responding to a similar move by Germany. Belgium is one of 26 countries that allow passport-free travel between each other.

Mr Francken is worried that many refugees will now head for Belgium. Germany reintroduced the checks as it cannot cope with the influx of people from Syria and Iraq. European Interior ministers are meeting in Brussels today to discuss the situation.

Theo Francken: "I understand the German position. The Schengen Treaty allows for the reintroduction of border checks. We are not yet In Germany's position, but I would certainly contemplate this now."

Mr Francken believes refugees will choose the route of least resistance: "If Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic close their internal EU borders, then people will look for the country where they can head. This can result in a cascade effect and in reality the Schengen Treaty will be defunct."

Mr Francken also condemned Greece: "Greece's borders are open and nobody dares say anything about it. Hungary is trying to do something and they are heavily criticised. Not a word of criticism against Greece with its wide open borders."

"I believe in Schengen"

Mr Francken stressed that he did believe in Schengen after the leader of his Flemish nationalist party, Bart De Wever, said that in reality, given the events of recent months, Schengen no longer existed."

"I believe in Schengen because free movement is beneficially economically speaking. We are a country specialised in logistics and international distribution. We benefit from Schengen, but it should also still have a point.”