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EU says no plans to bring back border checks for Schengen nations

schengenThe European Union (EU) says there are no plans in the pipeline to reintroduce passport controls at the borders of Schengen Zone nations. Spokesperson Christian Wigand said passport-free access between Schengen countries was an integral part of its foundation and there were no plans to change this whatsoever.

He did note that although there were no restrictions on travel between the member nations and its affiliates, the EU had no issue with countries ramping up their own internal security measures on trains and on international highways. Mr Wigand said security checks by national police forces were okay as long as they did not become de facto passport controls.

The Schengen Agreement did away with immigration and baggage check procedures between members. It currently applies to the core 22 EU member nations in addition to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. The UK did not join the Schengen bloc and immigration controls remain in place between it and the EU.

Calls to reintroduce border controls have gained momentum during the past few weeks. Proponents for the reintroduction say it would help alleviate the ongoing problem of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa being able to travel freely in the Schengen Zone and congregate in locations such as Calais.

An incident aboard an international Amsterdam to Paris train last Friday has also led the prime-minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, to say the rules might need a revamp. A suspected Islamic terrorist started shooting on the train before he was overpowered and disarmed by three US citizens.

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