Face scans for all nationalities at Brussels Airport soon?

Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon wants to step up checks on passengers flying to non-European destinations at Brussels Airport. The interior minister is convinced of the point of face scans and passport controls using electronic passports. At present only non-EU citizens are checked in this way. Mr Jambon believes this can make our anti-terrorism policies more effective and is now only waiting for a go-ahead from the EU authorities.

Mr Jambon intends to clarify his plans at an informal meeting of EU interior ministers on Monday. His spokesman told VRT News that following the Paris attacks and the heightened alert in Belgium a consensus is now growing.

Under the proposals all passengers travelling to non-EU destinations will have to pass through an electronic gate where your passport is checked, a face scan is used to check whether it is really your passport and finally a check will be made to see that you are not on any wanted list.

This kind of check only exits for non EU passengers at the moment and EU passengers travelling from non-Schengen countries are only sporadically checked in this way.

Brussels Airport currently possesses six e-gates. A further 18 are being introduced in March. It will probably be the end of the year before the required software can be installed to allow the new style checks.

A go-ahead from the EU is required because at the minute systematic checks are banned. The Belgian interior minister is keen for other Schengen countries to adopt the measure too because it is only useful if this is the case. For some time now visitors to the US have been required to have their fingerprints checked or undergo an eye scan irrespective of their country of origin or nationality.