EU leaders agree to tighten Schengen entry checks

European Union flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in BrusselsChecks on travellers entering the EU are to be strengthened immediately, European ministers, including Dutch security minister Ard van der Steur, agreed on Friday.

The tighter entry restrictions include systematic security checks on everyone crossing the border by linking Interpol and other data bases.

‘It is crucial we know who is entering the Schengen area,’ Van der Steur said after the meeting. ‘At the moment people can come and go as they please.’ The screening of refugees as well as potential criminals and terrorists also falls short, the minister is quoted as saying in the Telegraaf.

Friday’s meeting was called in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Earlier this week, it emerged the Dutch cabinet is looking at the option of developing a smaller open border area made up of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Austria.

The current Schengen zone for passport-free travel comprises 22 EU member states and four non-members.

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