Europe shuts down: 10 countries reintroduce border controls due to terrorism threat

Elizabeth Smith

Fear of terrorism is growing in Europe. Ten European countries have reinstated border controls, suspending the Schengen Treaty that guarantees the free movement of people within European borders.

The reason for this decision is the war in Israel, which has brought a wave of Islamic fundamentalist terrorist attacks and threats to Europe. In recent days there have been attacks in France and Belgium.

The danger of terrorism

The conflict between Hamas and Israel, which began Oct. 7, has rekindled the danger of Islamic terrorism in Europe. Last Friday, Palestinian militants proclaimed a day of rage, and some lone wolves responded.

In France, in the city of Arras, a terrorist broke into a high school and stabbed a teacher, killing him. More alerts followed, most of them false.

The most serious attack, however, was in Brussels on Monday 16th October, when a 41-year-old Tunisian fired an assault rifle at some Swedish fans who were in town for the European qualifying match, killing 2 and wounding a third.

Borders closed for ten countries amit terrorism threat

In particular, the Tunisian-born man who killed two Swedish nationals in Brussels on Oct. 16, Abdessalem Lassoued, appears to have benefited from loopholes in the European asylum system, as he was able to move to other countries after he landed in Italy and submit several rejected asylum claims, in Norway and Sweden.

As Swedish Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer confirmed, it was a case of “secondary movement.” That is, a person who arrived in one EU country and managed to move irregularly to another.

It is precisely security concerns intertwined with migration flows that are prompting EU states to close their borders. Thus suspending Schengen Treaty rules on the free movement of people.

Ten countries have currently reinstated customs controls. Italy, which will carry them out for ten days at the border with Slovenia, joins Denmark, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Slovakia, Poland, Czechia and France.

Still outside the Schengen area, however, remain Romania and Bulgaria, due to opposition from Austria and the Netherlands. The Commission and the Spanish Council presidency hope to get the green light in December.

What is the Schengen treaty

The Schengen Treaty is an international agreement that was originally signed by Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 1985 and provided for the abolition of borders between the signatory states.

Over the years it was first integrated into the European Union and then expanded to include other countries. To date, 28 states are members, two of which are not part of the EU, Norway and Switzerland. Four member states, Romania, Bulgaria, Ireland and Cyprus, have not signed Schengen.

All states that are signatories to the treaty have the right, upon notification to the European Commission, to suspend the treaty for security reasons and reinstate border controls.

Read also: The most dangerous terrorist groups currently active worldwide

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