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to think it is time Europe had border checks again?

(73 Posts)
yolofish Sat 14-Nov-15 22:17:53

In the light of the awful Paris events... I can remember the days when you drove between European countries and there were passport checks at the borders, which at least meant the authorities knew roughly who was where. Even today, you cannot leave the British Isles, whether by air, rail or sea, without a proper passport, and in (I think most of mainland?) Europe you need to carry an ID card to fly/or just to walk about your local streets.

Maybe I'm being naive, and all or some of the perpetrators are born within the country where they commit their crimes, but it just seems to me that free entry to a country doesn't mean that a country shouldn't know who is within their boundaries.

I cannot remember a time when border checks held us up, and with new technology (number plate recognition, scannable passports etc) it would surely be possible? After all, France can operate toll motorways pretty effectively...

I get the freedom of movement within the EU thing, but I still think it would be good to know who is where. What am I missing?

wowfudge Sat 14-Nov-15 22:27:07

I don't have any experience of passing through an EU border without checks as a Brit who only been to one EU country at a time, but I think it is highly likely the murderers in Paris were French citizens living there or immigrants lawfully in the country. Border controls wouldn't have made a difference. France has closed its borders in response to the attacks as I understand it.

Mistigri Sat 14-Nov-15 22:27:19

There are no border checks when leaving the UK and haven't been for years.

In fact, border checks are tighter on the French side - when I fly out of Toulouse tomorrow morning, heading for London, I will have pass through border controls. When I leave London, there will be no passport check at all.

yolofish Sat 14-Nov-15 22:35:36

misti everytime we leave for France via Eurotunnel, we go through pretty stringent security checks - scanning beneath the car is automatic, drugs/explosive swabbing at whim, passport checks etc etc. When I fly to/from France for work, or take the Eurostar, my passport is checked at both ends. So why can we drive from France into Germany, eg, without any such checks - or is the initial border control enough?

TwoSmellyDogs Sat 14-Nov-15 22:40:20

This 'France has closed it's borders' thing interests me. Recently I caught a train from Nice to Ventimiglia to visit a friend in Italy - just got on the train in France and off in Italy. Not only was there no border check - there was no hint that there was a border at all!

ModenaMan Sat 14-Nov-15 22:41:07

That's because you are going from Schengen to non - Schengen border.

ReallyTired Sat 14-Nov-15 22:44:06

I think that we need better boarder controls in Europe, but is naive to think that will stop terrorists.

ilovesooty Sat 14-Nov-15 22:49:54

I don't think it would make any difference at all.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sat 14-Nov-15 22:54:27

Yes it is to do with Schengen. We're in the EU area for travel but not part of the borderless Schengen area.
We have very relaxed border controls for EU passport holders on entry and no actual immigration checks on embarkation.
Even if we did, it's not the case that all police and intelligence forces share information so how would you know who was a worry.

SwedishEdith Sat 14-Nov-15 22:56:53

The point of the Schengen agreement is the free movement of people within signatory countries hence no passport. UK's not a signatory and the UK border is technically in France for Eurostar.

Mmmmcake123 Sat 14-Nov-15 22:58:14

I think security should be stepped up too but until further information is revealed I am not sure sure that what happened in Paris could have been prevented. Hopefully time will tell and we won't have to wait too long.
Wholehearted and sincere wishes to all of those who have suffered loss and injury, wherever they are.

WidowWadman Sat 14-Nov-15 23:00:15

Whilst Schengen makes it easier to move around for whatever reason within the Schengen Zone and this may have aided the terrorists in some way, giving up this freedom would be the wrong response.

Those who sacrifice liberty for security will end up with neither.

Mistigri Sat 14-Nov-15 23:02:49

Modena yes, I know. The point is that even outside Schengen, no one really knows who is where. I travel pretty much every month of my life between the UK and France and although UK immigration officers check my passport when I arrive, they do NOT check it when I leave - ergo, they have no idea whether I'm in the UK or France at any given moment. (The French check in both directions).

This summer, we travelled from France to Northern Ireland, then back to Ireland, ferry to Wales then back to France. The only time our passports were checked by immigration officers was when leaving Roscoff! DH and I were amazed - if you were a refugee it would be a lot easier getting into the UK that way than via calais.

In continental Europe where borders are mainly long land borders, border controls really aren't that useful for preventing the illicit movement of people and goods anyway. It's very hard to patrol long land borders effectively (ask the Texans!).

DontStopBelievin Sat 14-Nov-15 23:03:44

OP, I don't think you are in the slightest bit BU. You have a point. I have never been able to understand the reasoning behind abolishing border checks. Just what did they think that was going to achieve?! confused
As a country you need some sort of idea who is going to and from it.
You need to know who is entering and exiting.
It's common sense that border control needs bringing back.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sat 14-Nov-15 23:21:03

Again. How do you know about who they are? You have names. Unless you have intelligence then what use are names?
The US has border controls. They still request details for an ESTA ahead of flying.
Even if the whole of Europe put in immigration controls now then it doesn't change a thing.
The govt is cutting public services ruthlessly here. That means police, security services, first responders etc. And Border Forces too.

WidowWadman Sat 14-Nov-15 23:25:24

Don'tstop You don't understand what Schengen achieved? Other than enabling goods and people to travel more quickly between member states without lenghty queues, which obviously translates into massive savings?

yolofish Sat 14-Nov-15 23:25:59

how do we know who they are well maybe we dont, but with the 'chatter' that GCHQ and their international counterparts pick up, and the piecing together of humint, maybe the picture could become clearer a bit more quickly? like I say, I dont really know, but it seems to me that beefing up border checks could provide more intelligence (while providing jobs etc - diff argument I know!) And I dont really go with the whole 'loss of privacy' argument which is often raised alongside increased gov awareness of who is doing what/where/when.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sat 14-Nov-15 23:38:20

And you think with mobile phones we don't know where they are? You think security services don't already have a handle on this stuff?

The PM claims we shouldn't have encrypted communications for security reasons. Theresa May wants ISPs to keep their traffic for years. You can kiss goodbye to online shopping & https. Kiss goodbye to any joined up government. Broadband costs increasing. No free email.

OfaFrenchmind2 Sat 14-Nov-15 23:42:38

Two of the scum terrorists yesterday were "refugees" from Syrian, the rest French. You can understand that we are slightly sceptical about the wide open doors and the well-meaning but moronic "refugees welcome" that were the rules the past months?
For fuck's sake, Lebanon told us the risk, the German secret service told us that, actually anybody that was an actual expert and not a stupid bleeding heart or a Chancellor in need of more workers told us that.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sat 14-Nov-15 23:48:08

Forged documentation is cheap too.
I don't think the airports ever caught an IRA member.
Security services have foiled many many plots. They miss one and it's 'border controls and hatred'. Immigration controls wouldn't have saved Lee Rugby or the 7/7 victims.

hefzi Sun 15-Nov-15 00:10:42

I think we should have our passports checked, and some records made, as we leave the UK - we are the only nation where no-one seems to give a monkies (I travel a lot for work): but that's nothing to do with terrorism - it's something that should happen anyway so the government has an idea who is and and who has left the country full stop.

Out2pasture Sun 15-Nov-15 00:14:53

i certainly wouldn't mind tighter border controls; retinal scans and finger print scanning should help with the problem of forged documents as well as be helpful for those that left countries without documentation. i'm not the kind of person that is too bothered by being questioned for no apparent reason (some feel it is a breech of their civil liberties) so i'm okay with police and security agencies doing "more".
as for people from within the country causing atrocities...i'm at a loss as to ways of solving this issue.

StrawberryTeaLeaf Sun 15-Nov-15 00:40:47

It's probably common sense. It's an irritant or 'drag' factor to anyone up to any form of mischief, be it minor or extremely serious.

wasonthelist Sun 15-Nov-15 01:42:03

out2 On a point of pedantry, I think (hope) you are thinking of iris recognition, not retinal scans. Retinal scans are quite invasive and require low light coditions (except in sci-fi movies). Iris recognition and/or fingerprint scans can be used to match data on a person's passport, but the trials haven't been encouragjng.

I can't think of a recent terror attack where the perps made any attempt to hide their identity so it seems a little pointless really.

Out2pasture Sun 15-Nov-15 03:51:41

thanks was, you are correct iris scans.
better border patrol would hopefully improve knowing who is where.
I certainly wouldn't put it past someone to have a stolen or forged passport.

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