France: European Union Must Tighten Migrants Document Checks

France: European Union Must Tighten Migrants Document Checks
Tue Dec 29, 2015 15:13:27

France has called on the European Union (EU) to increase checks on Syrian travel documents presented by refugees, especially in Greece and Italy.

In a letter to the European Commission, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said some members of terrorist groups operating in Syria had attempted to enter the EU disguised as refugees.

Cazeneuve urged the EU to improve the quality of the equipment used to check travel documents carried by refugees at external borders.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve

He asked the documents to be matched with a list of stolen passports compiled by Interpol.

Cazeneuve also said security checks in refugee reception centers remained “largely insufficient.”

The French minister said a number of European intelligence agencies had warned about blank passports being stolen in Syria and later altered in Turkey before being sold.

According to Cazeneuve, blank passports stolen from Syrian administrative facilities in areas taken by Daesh terrorists have been in circulation.

He said it would be extremely difficult to detect such “real-fake” passports after identities were inserted into them.

“Other passports have also been taken from dead people, such as Syrian soldiers or civilian victims of bombings and then sold to people resembling them,” he added.

The measures come more than a month after 130 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris.

Two of those suspected of involvement in the attacks were believed to have been carrying Syrian passports. French investigators say the passports, which had been used by refugees to enter Greece back in October, did not belong to the two suspects.

Recent figures show more than 970,000 have crossed the Mediterranean Sea this year. More than 3,600 have also died or gone missing on their way to Europe.

The influx of the refugees into Europe has largely been attributed to the outflow of the people fleeing a foreign-backed militancy in Syria. Afghans, Iraqis and Eritreans constitute the other major groups of refugees; Presstv reported.

S/SH

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