All travelers entering Europe—including American travelers—will be required to submit biometric data before being allowed to cross Europe’s borders if a European Union proposal comes to fruition.
The International Herald Tribune report that the proposal will go before the European Commission February 13. It is part of a wider effort by the European Union to combat terrorism, crime, and illegal immigration.
The United States now requires identification checks for visitors to the United States, including the taking of two fingerprints. And a pilot program under way at 10 U.S. airports has expanded that ID process by requiring that all 10 fingerprints be taken.
The proposal covers Europe’s internal free-travel area called the Schengen Zone (named after a village in Luxembourg where the first free-travel area agreement was signed in 1985). Twenty-four European countries are party to that agreement, and, according to the International Herald Tribune, it is unclear whether the proposal would extend to the United Kingdom and Ireland, which are not Schengen members.
If the European Commission approves the proposal, it would then need to be approved by all European Union states.