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Macron seeks Schengen changes as part of terrorism fight

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Macron seeks Schengen changes as part of terrorism fight
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French President Emmanuel Macron would like to reform Schengen as part of a new approach to fighting terrorism in Europe.

As well as doubling police and military presence at France's borders, Macron would like new security measures. The French president intends to present his proposals to EU leaders at the next summit in December.

"Today we see more and more people seeking asylum in Europe coming from countries that are not at war to which we give hundreds of thousands of visas every year. So there is a loophole that is used by traffickers, by clearly identified networks," Macron said earlier this week.

"Our job is to better build our concerted common response, to better protect our common borders, to better face these contemporary phenomena in order to keep our borders open between us," Macron added.

But it's not the first time leaders have attempted to change Schengen.

"We had a change of the Schengen border code, we also had the creation of the European border guards, so we have a legal framework that has been significantly strengthened in recent years," said Yves Pascouau, from the think tank Res Publica.

"In addition to this legal framework, we've seen a significant increase in operational means, whether it is the issue of Frontex, the creation of rapid intervention teams and now 10,000 members of the European Border Guards."

Member States have also strengthened their IT systems in recent years. Pascouau says that the EU should begin by focusing on fully applying the existing rules.

But in the current climate, he acknowledges that the debate is likely to focus solely on the issue of protecting external borders.

"It's clear that there's only one issue today that interests Member States and that is stronger control of external borders in the Schengen Area and the return of unwanted migrants. Asylum for them is in a kind of floating zone where it's taken into consideration, but mainly to reduce rights and to restrict procedures," Pascouau said.

EU interior ministers will meet Friday to discuss the reform of asylum and migration policy, as well as the fight against terrorism, where they will be looking to make some progress.