August 23, 2015

IMMIGRATION: Terror Attack On Train Puts Spotlight On Schengen.

The ease with which the terror suspect in the failed train attack moved around Europe has put the spotlight on the passport-free Schengen Area.

Calls for tighter border security within Europe are expected to increase after it emerged that the gunman overpowered by passengers in France on Friday was known to anti-terror authorities in France, Belgium and Spain.

Charles Michel, Belgium’s prime minister, called for urgent talks with France, Germany and the Netherlands on increasing security on cross-border trains.

However, the European Commission said the Schengen treaty on freedom of movement was “non-negotiable” and there were no plans to change it. But it said increased security controls could be compatible with Schengen “if they do not have an effect equivalent to border checks”.

The train originated in the Netherlands, passing Belgium before entering France — three of the 26 Schengen countries where people travel without the need for passports and security checks. Passport and luggage checks are, however, carried out on Eurostar services that run to Britain, which is outside the Schengen Area.

I predict that more countries will choose to be outside the Schengen Area if this keeps up. Even the Germans are talking about it:

The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, on Saturday called the train episode “a terrorist attack” and proposed “an urgent meeting of transport and interior ministers from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands to reinforce antiterrorist measures, notably identity and baggage controls,” his office said.

Attacks like this one, combined with Europe’s difficulties this summer with a surge of migrants and asylum seekers from Iraq, Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Libya and other countries, have made some officials question the open borders under the Schengen Agreement, which allows free movement without border controls across much of the European Union. Even the German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, has suggested a new examination of that agreement because of the large flow of migrants to Germany and other northern countries from entry points in Greece, Italy and Hungary.

Borders exist for a reason.

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