EU to start checks at external borders to tackle 'foreign fighters' returning from Iraq, Syria

Officials check motorists at the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing in Medyka, east south Poland, April 6, 2017.
Officials check motorists at the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing in Medyka, east south Poland, April 6, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Europeans will face systematic checks at the external borders of the EU's Schengen border area from Friday under legislation designed to tackle "foreign fighters" returning from Iraq and Syria.

"Member States will as of tomorrow have an obligation to carry out systematic checks against relevant databases at the external borders, also on EU citizens," a European Commission spokeswoman said on Thursday (April 6).

This is "in order to verify that persons crossing the borders do not represent a threat to public order and internal security."

The EU said it was "in response to the attacks in Paris in November 2015 and the growing threat from foreign terrorist fighters."

The EU first proposed the measures after the November 2015 Paris attacks and the 28 member states adopted them on March 7.