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Europe

EU Big Five to Use Biometric Passports

Interior ministers of the five biggest EU countries have agreed at a meeting in Florence to include biometric indicators in passports.

In a statement at the end of the talks, the ministers said they were hoping to introduce the fingerprint measure for passports issued in their countries starting in 2006. The US has said it will start demanding visas from 27 countries -- mostly European states -- from Oct. 26, 2005 if they do not have biometric data on their passports. The issuing of biometric passports is part of a US law designed to tighten up border security after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. However, ministers from Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy failed to agree on a German proposal to set up transit camps in North Africa to process would-be asylum seekers before they reach Europe. Italy backed the idea, which was also seen positively by the British. Spain and France, however, opposed the plan. (EUobserver.com)

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