PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday called for a strengthening of border controls in the European Union’s Schengen zone following recent Islamist attacks in France and Austria.
Macron, speaking during a visit to France’s border with Spain, said that France alone will bolster its border controls by doubling police numbers to 4,800.
The increased controls would target illegal immigration amid “a growing terrorism threat”, he said.
“I am in favor of an in-depth re-foundation of Schengen to re-think its organization and beef up our common border security,” Macron added.
France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim community, has been hit by a string of militant attacks in recent years.
A knife-wielding Tunisian man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice on October 30.
France has deployed thousands of soldiers to protect important sites such as places of worship and schools, and France’s security alert is at its highest level.
Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Gareth Jones and Emelia Sithole-Matarise