The European Commission is today presenting its revised proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of an Entry-Exit System to speed-up, facilitate and reinforce border check procedures for non-EU nationals travelling to the EU. The Entry-Exit System will modernise external border management by improving the quality and efficiency of controls and support Member States with the increasing numbers of travellers entering and exiting the EU. The legislative proposal is part of the broader ‘Smart Borders Package’, addressing the role of information systems in enhancing external border management, internal security and the fight against terrorism and organised crime.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “The use of new technologies can help manage the flow of travellers arriving at our external borders, while at the same time tackling irregular migration and enhancing our internal security. Today, we address an important gap in our information systems and take concrete action to make our borders stronger, smarter and more efficient for the ever-increasing numbers of travellers coming to the EU.”
The proposed Entry-Exit System will allow for the effective management of authorised short-stays, increased automation at border-controls, and improved detection of document and identity fraud. The system will apply to all non-EU citizens who are admitted for a short stay in the Schengen area (maximum 90 days in any 180 day period).
The system will register the name, type of travel document and biometrics and the date and place of entry and exit. This will facilitate the border crossing of bona fide travellers, detect over-stayers and identify undocumented persons in the Schengen area. The System will also record refusals of entry.
The Entry-Exit System will replace the current system of manual stamping of passports which is time consuming, does not provide reliable data on border crossings and does not allow the detection of over-stayers or address cases of loss or destruction of travelling documents.
The proposed system stores alphanumeric and biometric data (a combination of four fingerprints and the facial image). Appropriate data protection safeguards and strict access rights are foreseen in accordance with EU data protection rules. The System is composed of a central database connected to national entry points. Interoperability between the Entry-Exit System and the VIS (Visa Information System) will be established. The draft Regulation provides that Member States’ law enforcement authorities and Europol will have access to the System under strictly defined conditions.
The package also includes a revised proposal for a Regulation amending the Schengen Borders Code to integrate the technical changes that result from the proposed Entry-Exit System. These changes will make self-service systems and e-gates accessible to third country nationals, enabling automated processing of certain steps of the control process and enabling the creation of national Registered Traveller Programmes by Member States who wish to implement them.
The Communication on ‘Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Borders and Security’ presented in parallel explores how information systems can become more effective and efficient in enhancing external border management and internal security in the EU. The Communication looks at ways to improve existing systems, identifies gaps where they exist and highlights the crucial importance of interoperability (while respecting data protection safeguards).