Sunday

22nd Apr 2018

EU ministers call for more border checks

  • Talk of stricter border checks has intensified after the Paris attacks (Photo: state.gov)

EU interior ministers meeting in Riga on Thursday (29 January) have called for more border checks to fight terrorism in the wake of recent attacks in France and Belgium.

The ministers want to change the rules governing the passport-free Schengen area to allow for "systematic checks against databases relevant to the fight against terrorism" when people enter and exit the area. Currently such checks can only be carried out on an ad hoc basis.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

EU home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos noted that changes for faster data exchange within the Schengen system have already been adopted and that checks are currently possible, too.

"We need first of all to strengthen existing instruments. We already have many important tools in place. Now is the moment to enhance them even more," Avramopoulos said.

The EU commission has taken a cautious stance on new measures in the wake of the Paris attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher store that left 17 people dead, as well as the foiled terrorist plot in Verviers, Belgium.

But Avramopoulos agreed that member states need to improve their data exchanges. "Europol needs to receive all relevant information in order to track the travel routes of terrorists," he said.

He was also evasive on a call for the establishment of a European passenger name record (PNR) system like the one used in the US - where personal data would be collected and stored for each person who flies in and out of Europe.

The project has been blocked by the European Parliament over data privacy concerns.

"We know that the parliament had issues. I also know that a compromise must be reached, but the topic itself is pressing and we are urging for a conclusion," said German interior minister Thomas de Maziere after the meeting.

Ministers also want to increase cooperation with companies like Facebook, Google or Twitter, which are sometimes used by jihaddists to spread their message.

Again, Avramopoulos said this can only be done on national level and that at EU level the dialogue with these companies has only just started.

As for the European Commission, ministers said it needs to present a revamped security strategy "by mid-April 2015 at the latest" given that more than 3,000 Europeans have joined Islamists fighting in Syria and Iraq and 30 percent of the recruits have returned to Europe.

The ministers also discussed with Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus - six eastern European countries who are part of the Eastern Partnership project - ways to cooperate on judicial matters and law enforcement.

“It is more important than ever to be united, to rely on one another and to discuss mutual support. We are experiencing security crisis in Ukraine, which poses also a threat to EU’s security. Therefore, our close cooperation, sincere dialogue and trust is of utmost important,” said Latvian justice minister Dzintars Rasnacs, who chaired the meeting.

Feature

'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole

Project Safte, an international research project funded by the European Commission, has revealed a loophole in the EU firearms directive that is being exploited by criminals and possibly terrorists.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists