UKIP’s defence spokesman Mike Hookem has blamed Tuesday morning’s attacks in Brussels on the EU’s Schengen free movement agreement.
In a statement written from his office in the European Parliament in response to the bombings at Zaventem airport and on the Brussels metro, Hookem says that the Schengen Area is a threat to our security.
Here’s the statement (emphasis ours):
“This horrific act of terrorism shows that the Schengen free movement and lax border controls are a threat to our security. The head of Europol said in February that 5000 jihadists are at large in the EU having slipped in from Syria. There are 94 returned jihadists currently living in Molenbeek, Brussels. This fact alone should alert people to the fact that open borders are putting the lives of European citizens at risk.”
The Schengen Area is a passportless zone that allows free movement between EU countries. It is part of EU law and all new EU member are obliged to join it.
Hookem’s statement hits on a major topic that is beginning dominate the EU referendum debate — security. Led by Prime Minister David Cameron, the Remain campaign are trying to sell the message that Britain is “stronger, safer and better off” inside the EU.
However, members of the Leave campaign say that staying in the EU puts Britain at risk from terror attacks. Just last month, Iain Duncan Smith — the former Tory leader whose resignation last week plunged his party into crisis — claimed that staying in the EU would make the UK more vulnerable to Paris-style terror attacks.
Now that another major attack on a European city has happened, the issue of Britain’s safety as a member of the EU is set to dominate the agenda.
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