November 15, 2015 / 10:57 AM / 4 years ago

Swiss need border controls after Paris attacks: defense minister

Swiss police stand the day after a series of deadly attacks in the French capital of Paris, in front of the French embassy in Bern, Switzerland November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland needs to improve its border controls in the wake of the attacks in Paris that killed 129 people, the defense and civil protection minister Ueli Maurer said in remarks published by a Swiss newspaper on Sunday.

Switzerland had said on Saturday it would intensify border security, but gave few details.

“I am in favor of strengthening our (border) controls,” Maurer said in an interview with SonntagsBlick. “Until now that was a taboo politically. But now the measure of reintroducing border controls is necessary.”

Maurer said Switzerland’s brigade of border security agents should be strengthened.

The minister, who said the attacks in Paris did not come as a surprise to him, sits on Switzerland’s seven-member governing council and is a member of the anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party (SVP).

“In the next few days we must discuss whether we should better secure our borders - as our neighbors do,” he said. “Schengen-Dublin clearly does not function anymore.”

The Dublin Regulation lays out the responsibilities of member-states in processing asylum applications and the Schengen Agreement allows for passport-free travel within its 26 members, which include Switzerland.

The SVP won the biggest share of the vote in October’s Swiss parliamentary elections.

During the campaign the SVP campaigned against Swiss reforms to deal with asylum seekers, even though in Europe’s current migrant crisis Switzerland has handled far fewer migrants than some other nations such as Germany.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Andrew Bolton

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