‘Surveillance over freedoms, for safety’s sake’ – Belgian PM on possible Schengen limiting
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel says that sacrificing the EU’s free border movement could be on the table in the interest of security. He further says that there is an increasing need to give up some freedoms in order to fight terrorism.
The remarks were made to RTL on Saturday, in the aftermath of the “terrorist attack” on the Amsterdam-Paris train, where a gunman armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, and believed to be associated with radical Muslims, injured two people. Based on a joint inquiry by French and Belgian security services, the 26-year-old Moroccan boarded the train in Brussels.
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“The Schengen Agreement is important for our economy and our citizens, but we are now faced with new threats in Europe, and so we’ll maybe have to look to adapting new rules, including identity and baggage checks,” the PM said.
Michel said he has already spoken about this need for increased surveillance to French President Francois Hollande, and that the discussion will continue at various levels in Brussels.
Unlike the Eurostar trains that run between London, Paris and Brussels, Thalys services are rather light on security.
“Increasingly, we’re going to be in a society, where we have to be ready to sacrifice certain freedoms in the interest of fighting terrorism,” the Belgian leader pointed out, adding that the increased threat is clearly demonstrated in the number of red flags raised: 200 files on terrorism have been started this year alone, which is a new record.