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Schengen 'not dead' say EU ministers

Friday, November 20, 2015 - 01:30

EU interior ministers mull options to tighten border controls in the wake of last Friday's attacks in Paris. Could the future of the passport-free Schengen area that's underpinned euro zone trade and free movement be in doubt? Sara Hemrajani reports.

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The Schengen Agreement under scrutiny in Brussels. The free movement of people is considered a cornerstone of Europe, but that policy is now feeling the heat. Last week's attacks in Paris and the migrant crisis have sparked calls for change. Opponents say Schengen is making the continent more vulnerable and are demanding the return of border controls. Politicians agree that new security measures are needed but few want to see an end to Schengen. Austrian Justice Minister Wolfgang Brandstetter. SOUNDBITE: Wolfgang Brandstetter, Austrian Justice Minister, saying (German): "Schengen is not dead. We have expressed that clearly, and the Commission has said that the outer borders must be secured without interruption so that the freedom inside, Schengen can be kept. The European Union is defined by three basic principles: freedom, security and law." Business leaders share that sentiment - they say border controls would mean costly queues and reduce social mobility. Lloyds Bank's Adam Chester. SOUNDBITE: Adam Chester, head of economic research, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, saying (English): "There's obviously a lot of talk about possibly sharing intelligence, tightening up other ways of working more closely together. Anything of course that introduces an impediment to the free flow of labour is not good news for the euro zone economies and the members of the Schengen agreement more widely, so I'm sure they'll be looking to try and avoid any detrimental impact from that." On Friday, EU Interior and Justice ministers signed off on tighter surveillance and border checks. With some restrictions creeping back, there are concerns about the strengthening of Fortress Europe.

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Schengen 'not dead' say EU ministers

Friday, November 20, 2015 - 01:30