London Bridge terrorist Youssef Zaghba is just one of a hundred Italian nationals on terror watch lists who have been able to enter Britain due to Free Movement rules which prevent the authorities from denying entry to EU nationals unless they represent a “genuine, present and serious” threat.
The MailOnline reports that “Italian security sources [have] revealed that Britain is home to at least 100 other Italians who have been flagged as posing a potential terrorist risk on the SIS II database.”
Dominic Raab, Parliamentary Under-secretary of State for Civil Liberties at the Ministry of Justice under the Cameron administration, described the situation as a consequence of “Perverse EU rules [which] stop us from barring terrorists and extremists unless they pose a serious and present danger. Even then they have to be given reasons. The rules are crazy.”
Valeria Collina, Zaghba’s Italian mother, expressed disbelief that her son was able to slip escape surveillance by moving to the United Kingdom.
“The Italian police were following him around everywhere, but in Britain, nothing, I cannot understand why,” she told the Mail.
“When he came to Italy to visit me the police would be waiting on the tarmac at the steps of the plane. They would talk to him and even escort him back to the house to see what he was up to. But Youssef never mentioned anything like that happening in England.”
Damian Green, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and a former Home Office minister, claims EU rules should have allowed for Zaghba to be turned away – but a former Director of Immigration Services for Britain’s ports, Peter Higgins, warned the British authorities only have “restricted control of our borders” within the European Union in 2016.
“The controls for EU citizens are pretty minimal. The Border Force glance at your passport and wave you on,” he said.
“All you can do is check that they have the right documents to prove they are EU citizens, you can’t even spend a lot of time checking whether their documents are false.”
Were Britain to remain in the Single Market after Brexit, as many Remain campaigners wish, it would remain subject to the Free Movement regime.