SPAIN’S government is pushing for changes to be made to Europe’s treaty for visa-free movement.
Following last week’s shootings in France, the changes would allow Spain to bring in border controls to limit the numbers of Islamic militants returning from the Middle East.
“We are going to back border controls and it is possible that as a consequence it will be necessary to modify the Schengen treaty,” said Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz.
“The existing mobility in the European Union is facilitating the movements [of jihadists] to any country and also to our country.”
Diaz is among many other European politicians calling for change to – or a complete suspension of – the Schengen zone, in response to the deadly attacks.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s right-wing Front National, told President Francois Hollande that the country should ‘immediately suspend Schengen to be able to control our borders’.
She referred to it as an ‘essential element in the fight against terrorism’.
The Schengen zone consists of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and border controls, to allow free movement for European citizens.
The freedom of movement is considered to be a ‘fundamental right’ guaranteed by the EU to its citizens.
Diaz further called for the establishment of a Europe-wide passenger name record data base, to help in sharing passenger information between member states.
“We are convinced of the need for such a tool, to follow those who travel to terrorist operating theatres or who return from there.”
Fears of more terror attacks in Europe are widely spread following the shootings, which left 20 dead, including the three attackers.