Ministers agree tighter control on external borders for EU citizens too

 The interior ministers of European Union member states agreed on Friday to step up control on the EU's external borders for EU citizens too, Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said.

Speaking to the press after an extraordinary meeting of interior and justice ministers, Ostojic said the two most important conclusions reached were an agreement on the Passenger Name Record data on flights within the EU and on stepping up control on the external borders.

"This doesn't refer only to Schengen but to the EU's external borders too, where systematic control would be carried out not only for citizens from third countries, but EU citizens too," Ostojic said.

Ostojic said that he had insisted on the application of systematic control on the Union's external borders.

"This means more workload for Croatia's police that should conduct a systematic control along the external borders and (systematic control) of citizens of the European Union, who have to date passed faster using a separate traffic lane," the Croatian minister said.

He explained that countries within the Schengen Area could introduce temporary controls too by suspending the Schengen rules.

"But I would't talk about that in general. The solution is at the EU external border, rather than at the borders of Schengen Area countries or outside them," he said.

The French Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, said that the European Commission would propose the reform of Schengen rules by the end of this year.

Under the Schengen passport-free area rules, it is also now possible to systematically check EU citizens, too, but it is not obligatory. In order to make it mandatory, it is necessary to amend the rules.

This reform will enable systematic and obligatory controls on all external borders and of all persons entering the Schengen area, including those entitled to free movement,  Cazeneuve said.

Tighter controls mean checking passports through Interpol, European and national data bases.

Today's emergency meeting was convened at the request of France after Paris was hit by terrorists last Friday, in attacks in which 130 people have died so far and over 300 were wounded.

Last update: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 12:34

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