- Report Highlights Progress of Border Security Efforts
- October 3, 2016
- Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
- A recent European Commission report highlights the European Union’s progress to strengthen its external border control systems through the European Border and Coast Guard and improve electronic traveler information checking systems in place at entry and exit ports. Additionally, a proposal for a new traveler information checking system for visa-exempt nationals is planned for this fall, and there are plans to reinforce Europol’s European Counter-Terrorism Centre by May 2017.
European Border and Coast Guard
The European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) is expected to improve migration flow management and integrate external border management systems. The EBCG will conduct assessments to determine whether EU Member States are prepared for the border management aspect of a migration increase and will intervene if an EU Member State experiences an unusual spike in migration. By strengthening external border controls, the EBCG will aid in ending the temporary internal border controls which still exist in some EU Member States. The EBCG will officially start operating on October 6.
EU Entry-Exit System
The electronic EU Entry-Exit System, proposed in April 2016, will replace the current system of manual passport stamping at entry and exit ports.
The system will register the name, type of travel document, biometrics, date, and place of entry and exit of all non-EU nationals admitted for up to 90 days in a 180-day period into the Schengen area. The system is expected to be operational by 2020.
European Travel Information and Authorisation System
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is an electronic database that will help to determine the eligibility of a traveler to enter the Schengen area. It will be used to check the information of all visa-exempt third-country nationals seeking to enter the Schengen area for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. Such a system already exists in Australia, Canada and the United States. A proposal on ETIAS is expected by November 2016.
Improved Travel Documents Security
The Commission also seeks to improve security features on residence cards, identity documents and Emergency Travel Documents by publishing an Action Plan by December 2016 targeting the weaknesses of the current process and proposing corrective actions at an EU and national level.
Plans for Europol
The Commission also plans to strengthen the European Counter-Terrorism Centre’s (ECTC) capabilities by upgrading the access of Europol - the European Union’s law enforcement agency - to EU databases. There are also plans to establish a Programme Board to manage the ECTC’s work, methods and best practices and to reinforce ECTC’s financial and human resources. These reforms are expected to be implemented in May 2017.
What This Means for Foreign Nationals
The planned measures will likely impact many foreign nationals traveling into the Schengen area. However, since the measures are at different stages of the legislative process, their exact impact and implementation dates are not yet clear.