European Interest

France fears terrorism, extends internal EU border checks

Flickr/Will Bakker/CC BY-SA 2.0

France on April 4 announced its decision to extend border checks with countries in Europe’s Schengen passport-free zone until the end of October. The measure is aimed at protecting against the persistent threat of terrorism.

“Considering the number of recent and thwarted attacks, particularly the one in Trebes, that have hit French territory, the government has decided a new extension,” the French interior ministry said.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), France introduced border controls after the Islamic State group attacks that killed 130 people in Paris on November 13, 2015 and has renewed them every six months since then amid new attacks.

Moroccan-born Frenchman Radouane Lakdim, during a rampage in Carcassonne and Trebes on March 23, killed four people before he was shot dead by police.

A European Commission spokesman confirmed “we received notification from France this week” to extend controls for six months beyond the April 30 expiry date.

Unlike temporary checks to curb migration in the Schengen zone, those linked to security do not require a formal green light from the Commission, the 28-nation EU executive.

The Schengen zone is made up of 26 European countries, including 22 European Union member states, where no passport is required when crossing borders.

Meanwhile, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and non-EU Norway have also followed suit and imposed border controls. However, their reasoning has been to curb uncontrolled migration during the refugee crisis in 2015.

Since last year, the European Commission has said it will not accept migration as a pretext to impose border checks because it says order has been restored.

According to AFP, permission for the five other countries to continue the checks expires on May 12 and most appear set to request a renewal.

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