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Europe tightens borders to block the influx of immigrants

Saturday, June 25th 2011 - 07:35 UTC
Full article 12 comments
President Sarkozy praised the agreement President Sarkozy praised the agreement

European Union leaders agreed Friday to tighten migration safeguards, including potentially reintroducing border controls between states, in a controversial response to an influx of migrants fleeing North Africa's upheaval.

The proposals clear the way for border controls between states to be reintroduced in cases when a government fails to sufficiently protect the bloc's external frontiers from an influx of immigrants.

The push for new rules is unlikely to bring tight limits on free movement of people, but it underlines growing hostility towards immigration and concerns over unrestricted travel in parts of Europe.

Citizens of all 27 EU states are generally allowed to travel freely throughout the bloc. Twenty-two EU states and three non-members have gone further, eliminating border controls between them entirely under the Schengen agreement, named for a village in Luxembourg where the pact was signed in 1985.

France has campaigned strongly for the right to stop migrants from crossing its borders. Other EU governments have cautioned against allowing fears over immigration to damage one of the main achievements of European integration.

Heads of the EU's 27 member states said at a summit in Brussels that border controls could be introduced in “truly critical” circumstances, but added that free movement of people was a fundamental freedom.

Speaking after the summit, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that without reforms, Europe's Schengen zone would be damaged by unilateral moves by EU states.

“I have been very pleased that we took that step, because I really value Schengen and I insisted that if Schengen was not reformed then there was a risk that it could disappear,” he emphasized.

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • GeoffWard

    This is a classic case of 'closing the stable door (some many years) after the horse has bolted'. Muslims, Romas, Somalis, Nigerians, North Africans - the list is endless.
    [OK, I know this sounds like a racist rant, but I rather liked 'the old England']

    The Shengen Agreement is no more.
    Passports needed at all European border controls - and about time too!

    The UK was outside the Agreement, but failed to stop (hundreds of?) thousands of illegal entrants.
    It's one thing to ask for documents - entirely another to *stop* illegal entry.

    Jun 25th, 2011 - 09:03 pm 0
  • briton

    We both know France has turned a blind eye for years over immigrant’s coming in to the UK
    But when it happens to them,
    All rules go out of the window
    Italy allowed them out of their country by relaxing the rules,
    And France got a lot of them,
    France is only interested in France,
    She puts herself before others, [and i agree with that]
    it’s just a shame that our government puts OTHERS before its own people,

    But that politics for you
    No one likes them, but still vote for them

    Jun 25th, 2011 - 09:42 pm 0
  • ElaineB

    I think the days of sneaking into the UK and living off benefits may well become a thing of the past. Under New Labour there was virtually no border control but things are certainly tightening up.

    Jun 25th, 2011 - 10:28 pm 0
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