Thomas de Maiziere spoke as he arrived on Friday for an EU meeting in Brussels where ministers will discuss how to safeguard their Schengen system of open borders inside the EU and Greece's difficulties in controlling unprecedented flows of people arriving via Turkey and streaming north into Europe.
Calling for the reinforcement of the EU's Frontex border agency, whose help Greece called for on Thursday after coming under intense pressure from other EU states, de Maiziere said he expected an enhanced role for Frontex in proposals the European Commission is due to make on borders on Dec. 15.
"The Commission should put forward a proposal which has the goal of when a national state is not effectively fulfilling its duty of defending the external border, then that can be taken over by Frontex," he told reporters.
EU states' sovereign responsibility for their section of the external border of the Schengen zone is protected in the Union's treaties.
But the failure of Greece's overburdened authorities to control migrant flows that have then triggered other states to reimpose controls on internal Schengen frontiers has driven calls for a more collective approach on the external frontier.
Following diplomatic threats that it risked being shunned from the Schengen zone if it failed to accept EU help in registering and controlling migrants, Greece finally activated EU support mechanisms late on Thursday.

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