EU proposes rules to suspend passport-free travel in parts of Europe

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Under newly proposed rules, European Union countries would be able to suspend passport-free travel in parts of Europe for up to two years. There are currently little or no border controls between the Countries in the EU that are in the Schengen Area.

At a meeting in Luxembourg on 7 June, EU home affairs ministers agreed on new rules that would allow EU countries to reintroduce border controls if one country consistently failed to stop illegal migrants from entering Europe's Schengen area. The Schengen Area consists of twenty-six countries including France, Germany, and Spain. It does not include the UK or Ireland. If you have a Schengen visa you can travel throughout all countries that are part of the Schengen Area on the one visa.

Under the proposed changes, passport checks for people traveling from the EU country failing to meet immigration standards could be put in place for six months at a time and be extended up to two years. Other EU countries would have to agree before passport controls could be brought in.

"There must be no weak links in the chain when it comes to illegal migration," Danish Justice Minister Morten Bodskov said. "Steps need to be taken quickly if Schengen cooperation is under threat."

The decision to require passport checks would have to be made after careful monitoring of the country's borders for at least three months. Following this, for continued passport checks monitoring would need to reveal the country caused a "serious threat to public policy or internal security" in the EU.

The proposed rules will now need to be approved by the European Parliament before they can become law.

The UK has also announced they are drawing up emergency immigration rules to cover any possible increase in economic migrants from Greece and other EU countries if the euro collapses.

Critics have argued that anti-immigration rules undermined one of the main achievements of European integration; The ability of EU citizens to live and work freely in most of the EU member states.

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