November 2015 – EUROPE – Every traveler coming into Europe will have their name checked against anti-terror watch lists, under a plan to be agreed by ministers today. Border guards will scan all passports using computers to compare their details with those kept on wanted persons and suspected terrorists. At the moment, European Union rules prevent countries in the Schengen Zone systematically vetting European citizens as they enter the 26-nation travel area. But at an emergency summit in Brussels today, interior ministers will demand that is changed and put into force tighter passport checks.
The emergency meeting comes as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the terrorist cell which carried out the Paris massacres took advantage of the refugee crisis to ‘slip in’ to France. Serious questions have also been raised about security across Europe after the mastermind of the atrocities Abdelhamid Abaaoud was found to be in the heart of the French capital when it was thought he was in Syria. He had previously boasted about moving freely around the continent to plot murder and yet he was still not picked up before the attacks.
One of the suicide bombers who attacked the Stade de France was also found to have used a fake Syrian passport in the name of Ahmad Al Mohammad to pass through Greece. A leaked draft of the conclusions shows they will agree to ‘implement immediately the necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders, including on individuals enjoying the right of free movement.’ The document reflects France’s requests to strengthen controls at the external borders of the Schengen Zone, of which most EU countries are members, except Britain, Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria.
Ministers will also sign up to installing computers at border check points that are linked up to criminal and security databases, including Interpol’s list of wanted people. By March next year, the systems should be up and running at all crossing points on the external border of the Schengen Zone including airports. Teams of extra border guards and police will be sent to the crossings most under pressure from the influx of migrants to ensure that systematic screening and security checks take place. Every migrant arrival will have to give their fingerprints and will then be vetted including checking their passports against Interpol’s list of stolen and lost travel documents.
The European Commission had been insisting that no change is necessary to the current border code that says EU passport holders should only be subject to ‘minimum checks’ when they enter Europe. At present, European travelers are only subject to a ‘rapid and straightforward check’ that their passport is theirs, in date and not a forgery. On average, only 10 to 20 per cent of EU passports are cross-referenced against travel databases as they are not allowed to be systematic. –Daily Mail