EU votes through tight border checks

Britons entering EU's Schengen Zone after Brexit could be affected

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THE EU Parliament has voted for checks for non-EU citizens entering and leaving the Schen­gen Zone on short trips, expected to affect Britons after Brexit.

The ‘Entry-Exit system’ was proposed by the EU Com­mis­sion, which says it will “contribute to the fight against terrorism and serious crime”. This comes as France brought in a domestic anti-terrorism law to end its two-year ‘state of emergency’.

Expected to be in place by 2020, the Entry-Exit System means a non-EU citizen coming in must give fingerprints, photo and details of their entry date and passport, which will be stored in a database. It is expected these details will be accessible to border staff when the person later leaves the zone.

A commission spokeswoman said: “When they cross over the border we will know if they have over-stayed and have been going around illegally.” This would include staying more than three months in a six-month period.

Unless agreed otherwise and assuming Brexit happens, this will apply to Britons visiting second homes or on holiday.

Long-term residents, such as Britons visiting UK family, may have to carry means of showing the system does not apply to them, such as a carte de séjour.

An EU official said: “Already third-country nationals show proof of residence at the border, so it’s not about new paperwork but about modernising and creating a database.”

The law could be signed off by the EU Council this year.

During France’s state of emergency the government says there were 4,457 raids on homes of suspected jihadists, 625 firearms seized including 78 ‘weapons of war’, 998 investigations leading to 646 people being held for questioning, 752 people placed under house arrest and 19 mosques shut on suspicion of hate preaching – of which 11 remain closed.

New rules extend what the forces of law and order may do under ordinary circumstances.

Prefects can limit access to an area within a perimeter (and carry out searches of those entering and leaving), and close places of worship for up to six months.

Police can also set short-term re­st­rictions on people if there are ‘serious reasons’ to think they pose a ‘particularly serious threat’. They may be confined to their home commune or be obliged to report regularly.

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