Spain, France set up joint police teams in bid to reopen border crossings

Barcelona, Spain, Jan 19 (EFE).- Spain and France agreed Thursday to create a working group to develop joint teams of police forces from both countries with the aim of allowing the reopening of border crossings that were closed by the French government over security risks.

The agreement was announced by Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and French president, Emmanuel Macron, at a press conference following the 27th Spanish-French summit, in Barcelona.

Eight border crossing points are closed completely, while a ninth has been partially closed by the French authorities.

Sánchez said his interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and his French counterpart Gérald Darmanin, had agreed Thursday to set up “a working group to see how to develop the idea of creating joint teams of security forces” to reopen the crossings.

Macron, meanwhile, said the border closures were carried out “in accordance with the Schengen agreement”, because they are “exceptional” measures due to irregular migration and risk of terrorism.

In particular, he referred to the Nice attack of 2020, perpetrated by a Tunisian citizen living “irregularly” in France after having crossed the border into Italy. He killed three people in a basilica.

The French president pledged to “change” the situation of border closures by “improving the cooperation and effectiveness” of the two countries’ common fight against “clandestine immigration and human trafficking”.

In the treaty document signed Thursday in Barcelona, Spain and France “reiterate their commitment to the proper functioning of the area without internal border controls.”

On both sides of the border, Spain and France pledged to continue collaborating in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, and will cooperate in the recognition and care of victims of terrorism.

The two countries will also cooperate in the fight against organized crime and illicit trafficking, in particular drugs, arms and human trafficking, cybercrime, corruption, financial crime, money laundering and environmental crime. EFE


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