Switzerland backs tighter Schengen border controls

Europe fears criminal elements will seek exploit the Ukraine war confusion. Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter has backed new measures to tighten security at the borders of Europe’s Schengen zone to prevent criminals exploiting the chaos of the Ukraine war.

This content was published on July 11, 2022 - 18:48

Keller-Sutter, who also heads Switzerland’s migration office, met with Schengen interior ministers in Prague on Monday.

Ministers agreed that external borders of the Schengen region must be “strictly controlled right now in order to prevent criminals and potential terrorists from exploiting the flight from Ukraine”, according to a press statementExternal link.

Switzerland has awarded some 57,000 Ukrainian refugees special protection statusExternal link. But there are fears within Europe that criminal elements will try to exploit Ukraine war with human trafficking and illegal arms sales.

To mitigate this threat, Switzerland has given its backing to the reintroduction of the Eurodac system that automatically takes fingerprints of asylum seekers from the age of 14 plus enhanced screening of external Schengen borders.

“Switzerland is convinced that these two reforms will make an important contribution to protecting the EU’s external borders and will thus also increase the security of the Schengen area with its freedom to travel,” said Keller-Sutter.

There were also calls to speed up the process of creating an interoperable database of refugee information that all Schengen states can share.

Schengen ministers also talked about how countries would ensure the return of Ukrainian refugees after the war.

“Even if the lifting of the temporary protection still seems a long way off, we have to prepare for it now,” said Keller-Sutter.

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