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EU border biometric checks in UK likely to be delayed

Meanwhile EU JHA Council discusses Mediterranean immigration
EU border biometric checks in UK likely to be delayed

The EU’s Entry/Exit System (EES) will start operating on May 1, with all non-EU nationality visitors requiring a face and fingerprint biometrics taken and a passport scanned upon entry.

Despite the approaching deadline, the UK administration still has no checks in place to avoid delays in key UK entry points for travelers to France.

According to Connexion, dedicated booths are being planned in France, particularly at airports, but the UK is not reciprocating these efforts, with no such technology being deployed at Dover, London St Pancras or Folkestone.

“I think the launch of EES will be terrible: more queues, more congestion, and more bad feeling among passengers,” British in Europe (BiE) campaign group treasurer Christopher Chantrey told Connexion, echoing worries unveiled by some member states earlier this month.

When contacted by the publication, Eurostar and Port of Dover said they had no information from the UK government about biometric scanners or other technologies being deployed to facilitate the implementation of the EES.

The latter institution, however, confirmed in September that Albanian police forces were being deployed at the Dover port to help identify and deport illegal Channel migrants.

EU Council meets to discuss immigration

Meanwhile, the EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council is holding an extraordinary meeting today to discuss a plan by the European Commission to address the general direction for action in the central Mediterranean.

According to documents allegedly obtained by UK non-profit Statewatch, the meeting will focus on more intensive police cooperation with repressive states and externalizing borders instead of relocation of refugees. Real-time exchange of information is part of that planned cooperation.

However, the official webpage for the event says home affairs ministers will discuss the ‘current situation’ along all migratory routes, taking stock of the ‘urgent challenges and joint way forward.’

“On Monday, November 21, the Commission presented an action plan on the Central Mediterranean, which seeks to address the immediate and ongoing challenges along the Central Mediterranean migratory route,” reads the agenda’s highlights for the conference.

“Work is also ongoing to make progress on the EU pact on migration and asylum, while the EU has intensified its cooperation with key third countries through maintained political outreach and operational follow-up in different domains.”

Live streaming of the event is available at this link.

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