Ditching Schengen over migrant crisis may cost Europe €18bn

© Marko Djurica
The European Commission says going back to internal border controls on a long-term basis is likely to cost €18 billion. This is just the direct cost and excludes possible secondary effects.

“If a process is set in motion putting at risk the depth of economic integration, including the proper functioning of economic and monetary union, the medium-term indirect costs may be dramatically higher than direct estimates,” the Commission said.

In an effort to keep the structure within its legal framework, the EU is considering giving members a legal right to extend temporary internal border checks to which Germany and other members have resorted as an emergency, Reuters reports.

Some prominent Schengen members, including Germany and Austria, have tightened border controls, trying to slow down the biggest influx of refugees since World War II.

The EU’s migration policy will be on the agenda of the European Council summit next week in Brussels.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the restrictions introduced already will cost the EU €3 billion, Deutsche Welle reported.

In a similar study, the France Strategie think tank estimated the cost of abolishing Schengen at €110 billion by 2025, according to the Wall Street Journal.

At the same time, Brussels has demanded that Greece and Italy should do more by creating processing centers to register refugees and deport illegal migrants.