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EU ministers to discuss options of extending border controls on Monday

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union interior ministers will discuss on Monday options for extending temporary border controls in the passport-free Schengen zone to control migration flows, a European Commission spokeswoman said on Friday.

Germany, the top destination for people arriving in Europe amid the continent's worst migration crisis in decades, is among several European countries that have reintroduced temporary border controls to better control migration.

But such temporary border checks expire in May, meaning they must either be lifted or extended for up to two years if Berlin argues that "persistent deficiencies" on the external borders of the Schengen zone justify that.

"We have not yet launched this mechanism... (but) this possibility exists, it is there and the Commission is prepared to use it if need be," a spokeswoman for the EU's executive said of any potential two-year extension.

"We're not currently in that situation but interior ministers will on Monday in Amsterdam have the opportunity to discuss it... and it's on the agenda what steps should be taken or will need to be taken once we near the end of he maximum period in May," the spokeswoman told a regular news briefing.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska)

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