Thursday, May 23, 2024

Germany’s Merkel Urges European Border Reform After Terrorist Attacks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel During a EU Debate, said it was urgently necessary for Europe to reform the open-border Schengen area in light of recent terrorist attacks.

“I want to mention the entry-exit system in the Schengen area, which should be ready in 2022,” she said after a meeting with other European leaders on Tuesday.

“It is vitally necessary to know who comes in and who leaves the Schengen area.”

EU leaders discuss how to step up the response to terrorist threat

French President Emmanuel Macron said the European Union would study how to reform its free-movement Schengen area in order to assure security in response to a series of terror attacks in France in Austria in recent weeks.

According to EU Debates, Macron said recent attacks in France and Austria underlined the need to toughen European security without sacrificing the principle of free movement near the heart of the European Union.

“We must reform Schengen so it is a free-movement area but also a secure one,” Macron tweeted in reference to the name of the treaty that establishes the open-border, free-movement area between European Union member states.

“Public opinion in states confronted with a terrorist threat will not be able to accept keeping our borders open for long if we do not deeply reform the Schengen area,” the French president said after a virtual mini-summit with five other European top officials.

“We saw it in spring in the context of the pandemic and we see it now with terrorism.”

The border-free Schengen Area guarantees free movement to more than 400 million EU citizens, as well as to many non-EU nationals, businessmen, tourists or other persons legally present on the EU territory.

Right to asylum ‘misused’

Macron made the remarks at the French presidential palace in Paris alongside Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who met with Macron before joining remote talks with other leaders.

The virtual summit also included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, European Council chief Charles Michel and EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.

Macron called the summit to seek an EU-wide response to security threats after a series of attacks that killed four people in central Vienna, three at a church in the French city of Nice and a teacher at his school near Paris.

Detains were to follow in the coming days on reconsidering the oversight and administration of the zone, as well as tightening external borders, a sign that leaders will seek to toughen migration and patrolling policies.

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