Now even French want to sus­pend open bor­der rule

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Macer Hall Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

GER­MAN and French of­fi­cials are press­ing for the right to sus­pend pass­port-free bor­der rules for up to four years amid grow­ing con­cern about ter­ror­ism and il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, leaked doc­u­ments re­vealed yes­ter­day.

They want to be able to sus­pend the Schen­gen rules in “ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances” to al­low the rein­tro­duc­tion of full checks on trav­ellers cross­ing bor­ders in main­land Europe.

The de­mand, from the gov­ern­ments of two of the found­ing mem­ber na­tions of the EU, is seen as an in­di­ca­tion of grow­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with un­re­stricted free move­ment in Europe.

It is also a blow to European Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker. Ear­lier this week he called for the Schen­gen Zone to be ex­tended to in­clude Bul­garia, Ro­ma­nia and Croa­tia.

ridicu­lous

A spokesman for the Get Bri­tain Out group said: “Even the coun­tries at the core of the EU are now re­al­is­ing just how ridicu­lous free move­ment is.”

Twenty-six European na­tions, in­clud­ing 22 of the 28 EU mem­ber states, are signed up to the Schen­gen Agree­ment.

It al­lows trav­ellers within the zone to cross na­tional bor­ders with­out pass­port checks and for goods to be trans­ported freely. Nei­ther Bri­tain nor Ire­land are mem­bers and would not be di­rectly af­fected by any change in the rules.

A con­fi­den­tial diplo­matic pa­per yes­ter­day re­vealed the de­mand for the right for na­tions to tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend Schen­gen rules for up to four years.

Aus­tria, Den­mark and Nor­way have joined France and Ger­many in back­ing the idea. Sup­port­ers of the plan say the sus­pen­sions should be al­lowed in re­sponse to ma­jor ter­ror­ism threats or con­cerns about il­le­gal mi­gra­tion from out­side the zone.

The emer­gence of the plan comes af­ter the European Com­mis­sion al­lowed the tem­po­rary im­po­si­tion of pass­port checks in re­sponse to the mi­gra­tion cri­sis and the re­cent spate of ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Europe.

Ber­lin, Brus­sels, Paris, Nice and Barcelona are among cities on the European main­land that have been hit by ter­ror­ist at­tacks in the past 18 months.

The com­mis­sion al­lowed a six-month sus­pen­sion of the rules, but that pe­riod is shortly com­ing to an end. Now se­nior politi­cians want a more for­mal sys­tem in place that would al­low na­tional gov­ern­ments to sus­pend the rules for up to four years, the diplo­matic doc­u­ment in­di­cated.

It added that “the to­tal pe­riod dur­ing which bor­der con­trol is re-in­tro­duced shall not ex­ceed two years” but “where there are ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances that to­tal pe­riod may be ex­tended to a max­i­mum length of a fur­ther pe­riod of two years”.

Ear­lier this week Mr Juncker de­nied claims that pass­port-free travel was “an in­vi­ta­tion to ter­ror­ists”.

Juncker wants zone ex­tended

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