France's interior minister has called on his EU colleagues to act after "wasting too much time" on anti-terrorism. Ministers are meeting in Brussels to hold emergency talks on border security after the Paris attacks.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve implored the EU to ramp up border security at an emergency meeting in Brussels on Friday, as leaders across the bloc seek answers on how to counter extremism in the wake of last week's attacks in Paris.
"We hope that Europe, which has wasted too much time on a number of urgent issues, today takes the decisions that we must take," Cazeneuve said, according to the AFP news agency.
Specifically, Cazeneuve wants Brussels to adopt a currently-stalled system for collecting airline passenger information, as well to tighten the bloc's borders.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere echoed his French counterpart's statements.
"We need to know who's flying to Europe, who's returning to Europe," he said, stressing the need to improve border controls.
The German official also advocated closer sharing of information between countries both within and outside the EU, while rejecting a proposal from the EU to create a bloc-wide intelligence agency.
"I cannot imagine that we'd be willing to give up our national sovereignty on that," de Maiziere said.
Schengen in danger?
EU interior and justice ministers are in Brussels to discuss security measures along the external borders of the Schengen free-travel zone.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said some of the culprits in the Paris attacks had taken advantage of the EU's liberal borders to enter Europe. He said the Schengen zone would be in danger if leaders did not work to improve border security.
A Syrian passport found alongside the body of one of the attackers, as well as information suggesting the supposed ringleader of the Paris massacre had returned to Europe from Syria, has stoked fears that members of the "Islamic State" (IS) could be among those entering Europe along with thousands of refugees.
blc/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)