In the wake of this month’s terrorist attacks in Paris, European leaders are calling for significant changes to what has long been a paradox of their borderless continent: Their citizens can move freely, but information about them does not.
There is no European no-fly list, because there is no European database of air travelers. People inside a 26-nation zone can speed from the tip of Portugal to the border with Russia without once having their passports scrutinized. Many E.U. citizens enter and exit Europe without ever being checked against police databases.
The gaps can lead to delayed security responses at best and flawed ones at worst, critics say, and attackers have sometimes exploited the issues to their advantage. Now, after the bloody assaults that claimed 17 victims in Paris and after dozens of suspected Islamist militants were rounded up around Europe, European leaders are pushing to fix what they say are flaws in the system.
E.U. nations plan “to share information, intelligence, not only with the European Union but also with other countries around us,” E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday after a meeting on counterterrorism with E.U. foreign ministers and top diplomats from several Middle Eastern nations.