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Europol and Frontex documents explain why ETIAS is running late

Europol and Frontex documents explain why ETIAS is running late
 

The rollout of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is running late due to delays from both EU agencies and European countries, according to reports analyzed by the non-profit organization Statewatch.

Statewatch analyzed two reports published by Europol and Frontex in October covering developments from April to September 2023. Both agencies blame the delays on eu-LISA, the EU agency tasked with operating large-scale IT systems related to border management such as the Entry/Exit System (EES), ETIAS, VIS and SIS. Similar conclusions were reached in an earlier report by Europol from April 2023.

In November, the European Commission confirmed its plans to roll out the ETIAS in May 2025.

Reports published by Frontex and Europol also highlight that the delays are causing problems for risk screening of ETIAS applications.

ETIAS will require citizens of approximately 60 countries who currently enjoy visa-free access to Europe’s Schengen Area to apply to obtain authorization before traveling. While the ETIAS application doesn’t require biometrics, travelers will still need to submit biometric passport numbers, while fingerprints and face biometrics are collected when the person travels to the Schengen area.

Europol is creating a new watchlist of individuals suspected of connection with crime and terrorism. The delays, however, are causing problems for the ETIAS risk screening “assessment functionality” through which travelers will be profiled, potentially leading to issues with compliance, the reports note.

Europol’s key role in ETIAS is running searches against the agency’s databases. The policing agency has been trying to work more closely with third countries to supply that data and improve the Europol Information System, the main source of Europol data for ETIAS.

Another issue slowing down ETIAS is delays from EU member states. Several countries, including Greece and Cyprus, have been slow to approve documentation related to the appeal process for travelers who are refused entry after applying for ETIAS. Other states are running late on supplying procedures for data protection, the report notes.

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