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EU agrees to France's urgent border demands

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EU agrees to France's urgent border demands
Photo: AFP
14:31 CET+01:00
France vowed it will maintain beefed-up border controls until the terror threat subsides as EU ministers agreed to boost checks along the bloc's borders and as well as make major changes to Schengen rules.

France will maintain controls along all its borders with fellow EU countries for as long as the imminent threat of attacks
remains, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Friday.

"France will maintain the border controls it established last Friday as long as the terrorist threat makes it necessary," Cazeneuve told a press conference after a crisis meeting with his EU counterparts following last week's deadly Paris attacks.

Cazeneuve urged the EU to take urgent counter-terrorism decisions after having "wasted too much time", as he entered emergency talks following the Paris attacks.

"We hope that Europe, which has wasted too much time on a number of urgent issues, today takes the decisions that we must take," Cazeneuve told reporters in Brussels.

EU nations agreed  Friday to immediately tighten checks on all travellers, including European nationals, at the

external borders of the passport-free Schengen area following the Paris attacks, European sources said.

Interior ministers from the 28-nation European Union holding an emergency meeting in Brussels also backed France's call for a fundamental revision of the Schengen deal to allow the "systematic" controlling of EU citizens at borders, the sources said.

"Member states undertake to implement immediately the necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders, including on individuals enjoying the right of free movement," a draft copy of a statement from the meeting said.

The Paris attacks in which 129 people died have raised troubling questions about border security in the Schengen zone, where citizens of 22 EU countries, plus non-EU Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein enjoy passport-free
travel.

Schengen has come under scrutiny following the revelations that some of the Paris attackers came from Belgium, and that alleged ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud may have come back from fighting with IS in Syria to take part before
his death in a police raid on Wednesday.

EU officials said travellers will now not only have their passports examined but have their personal information checked with databases.

The previous night French PM Manuel Valls warned the EU's cherished passport-free Schengen zone will be in danger if the bloc fails to "take its responsibilities" on border controls.

Valls urged France's neighbours to "play their role properly".

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