BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium has sealed an agreement with France and the Netherlands to draw up passenger lists and introduce passport checks on Thalys and Eurostar international rail services.
Interior Minister Jan Jambon told VRT broadcaster Friday that the move will tighten security on the high-speed trains and help track criminals who might be using them.
"The aim is to have the system operational by the end of the year," Jambon said.
He noted that Germany has decided not to take part. Berlin attacker Anis Amri drove a truck into a central Berlin market on Dec. 19, killing 12 people. He died in a shootout with Italian police four days later after transiting to Italy through the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
"If the system works they can join in," Jambon said, noting that "there is an election coming up in Germany. Maybe that has something to do with (their decision)."
Belgium, the Netherlands and France are part of Europe's 26-nation Schengen passport-free area, where ID checks on travelers do not usually take place.
The scheme will not be enforced on regular international rail and bus services.