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04 May 2011 description

By Rikard Jozwiak

The European Commission has proposed allowing countries in the Schengen area to reintroduce national border controls in exceptional circumstances.

The proposed changes to the rules on Schengen -- the visa-free zone over much of continental Europe -- come in response to an influx of thousands of immigrants fleeing unrest in North Africa.

The disappearance of border controls inside the European Union has been one of the most potent symbols of closer European integration in recent years.