EU entry-exit border security system proposed

April 7, 2016 - 

In an effort to improve external border management and better monitor over-stayers, the European Commissioner on Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship has presented a revised proposal from 2013 to create an “EU Entry-Exit System” (EES).

The Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said that the original proposal from 2013 estimated the set up cost to be €1.1 billion.

“Crossing an EU border will never be the same again,” suggested Avramopoulos. “It will be automated and will be done through self service kiosks and electronic gates. Guards will stop stamping passports because they will be replaced by smart and quick electronic processors. Queues for non-EU crossers will be smaller and travelers will have clear information on how long they can stay to EU. Authorities will have top information regarding nationals who need visas or not.”

Avramopoulos also said the system is also needed to fight terrorism. “Under strict conditions, this data will be available in order to fight threats”, he said. “Data is kept in boxes, it is complex, fragmented and underused, often kept in several different places. The system is aiming to lead to interconnected systems, accessed by one click, with all biometric data kept at one place, all in full respect of fundamental rights. The Commission is determined to respond to a new reality whether it is migration, or asylum systems or security. We want to make our policies fit for purpose”.

According to a report by New Europe, the main differences between the modified proposal presented this week and the previous 2013 proposals are:

“- The architecture of the system: only one system is proposed, the Entry Exit System, that will connect the national border infrastructures to the EES central system will be done through a National Uniform Interface, identical for all member states, and will allow the use of the existing national Entry Exit Systems. However, data from the central system cannot be copied into these existing national EES.

– Interoperability is ensured between the EES and VIS in order to achieve more efficiency and rapidity at border checks, via direct access connection that will also reduce the duplication of personal data processing in accordance with the ‘privacy by design’ principle.

– Biometric identifiers: while the 2013 EES proposals were relying on ten fingerprints, the revised EES proposals suggests a combination of four fingerprints and the facial image as biometric identifiers introduced from the start of operations of the EES.

– Personal data protection: there is a significant reduction in the volume of personal data recorded in EES, leading to 26 data items to be recorded in EES instead of 36.

– Data retention period: The retention time for stored data is five years, reducing the re-enrolment frequency and will be beneficial for all travellers. A period of 181 days was proposed in 2013, resulting to removal of any trace of the third country national recent history of entries and exits from the Schengen area which is required for a risk analysis.

– The facilitation of border crossings: the approach for facilitation is based on the implementation of self-service systems and e-gates, which will allow third country nationals to initiate the procedure for border clearance, to be completed by providing additional information to the border guard on request.

– In addition there will be a harmonised legal basis (again introduced in the amendments to the Schengen Borders Code) for the establishment of national Registered Travellers Programmes by Member States, on a voluntary basis.

– Law enforcement access: from the start of operations, Member States’ law enforcement authorities and Europol will have access to the EES, under strictly defined conditions.

– The costs: in the 2013 proposals, €1,1 billion was set aside as an indicative amount for the development of an EES and an RTP. For the revised proposal, based on the preferred option of a single EES system including the law enforcement access, the amount needed has been estimated at €480 million.”

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.