EU agrees to tighten checks on all travellers at Schengen borders
EU nations agreed Friday to immediately tighten checks on all travellers, including European nationals, at the external borders of the passport-free Schengen area following the Paris attacks, European sources said.
Interior ministers from the 28-nation European Union holding an emergency meeting in Brussels also backed France’s call for a fundamental revision of the Schengen deal to allow the “systematic” controlling of EU citizens at borders, the sources said.
“Member states undertake to implement immediately the necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders, including on individuals enjoying the right of free movement,” a draft copy of a statement from the meeting said.
The Paris attacks in which 129 people died have raised troubling questions about border security in the Schengen zone, where citizens of 22 EU countries, plus non-EU Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein enjoy passport-free travel.
Schengen has come under scrutiny following the revelations that some of the Paris attackers came from Belgium, and that alleged ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud may have come back from fighting with IS in Syria to take part before his death in a police raid on Wednesday.
EU officials said travellers will now not only have their passports examined but have their personal information checked with databases.