Can Europe keep its open borders? – CNBC

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The region’s Schengen Agreement, originally signed in 1985, allows travelers to cross borders of participating countries without immigration controls or passport checks. Currently it includes 22 EU countries, plus four European Free Trade Association member states.

“Today’s attacks are certainly not good news for Schengen. When countries first started instituting border controls across Europe in September, it was a question of managing the flow of migrants,” Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group president, told CNBC in an email Tuesday. “With Paris, suspending Schengen became a question of national security. Brussels fits into this latter category.”

The Brussels attacks struck as Europe is still recovering from terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris last fall. Security experts and some European citizens are likely to call for tighter border controls that can make it harder for terrorists to move from country to country.

“I think that like many other agreements, the Europeans will try to keep Schengen in place. But countries will be more willing to ignore the rules and introduce border controls if they feel they have to do it,” Adriano Bosoni, senior Europe analyst at geopolitical research firm Stratfor told CNBC on Tuesday.

“Once you are in Europe, the first place you land in Europe, you’re wherever you want to go in Europe,” retired U.S. Army Col. Jack Jacobs told “Squawk Box” on Tuesday. “It’s been astonishing for decades, how the Europeans could be as complacent as they have been about security when the borders are completely and totally open.”

Can Europe keep its open borders? – CNBC