EU migration chief favors ending internal border checks

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The European Union's top migration official says extraordinary border controls inside Europe's passport-free travel area should not be extended because the refugee emergency is abating.

The EU has allowed Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and non-EU country Norway to prolong ID checks at their borders. These countries say the checks are needed for security reasons.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said Thursday that while the checks were justified, the reasons for them to be introduced "are not there anymore."

He said: "I believe it is the moment to go back to the normal function of Schengen," as Europe's passport-free travel area is known.

Systematic ID checks are banned in the 26-nation Schengen zone. The countries introduced the measures in 2016 after around a million migrants entered Europe the previous year.