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 Full text 
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Establishing an Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data of third country nationals crossing the EU external borders - Amendment of the Schengen Borders Code as regards the use of the Entry/Exit System (debate)

  Jan Philipp Albrecht, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, of course we need to know who is coming into our European Union, into our Schengen Area. But what do we have to do for that? We have to check their passports, and that is exactly what we are doing. We have a system, the Schengen Information System (SIS), in which – if it worked perfectly – we would have information about every suspicious person, every risky person, and at the outer borders of our common Schengen Area there would be checks against every traveller, and everyone would be checked. We would know who is coming in. If this system worked, no doubt we would have a better, more secure environment in our European Union.

What are we doing? We are not fixing the system, which is not working because some of the Member States’ authorities are not thoroughly working with the system and feeding information into it. At some of the outer borders the checks are perhaps not working, yet we are building a completely new database – a database which does not focus, like the Schengen Information System, on risky persons or on suspicious persons, but one which just retains the data of completely irrelevant and innocent travellers – travellers like businesspeople, travellers or tourists who are coming to the European Union. We are welcoming them, and now are registering them for up to four years along with their sensitive personal data, their biometrical data, but without any suspicion and without any risk.

Not only is that unnecessary because of the Schengen Information System, it is also not necessary to check visa over-stayers. If you really want to keep track of visa over-stayers, you need to know not only that there is a visa over-stayer, but also where the visa over—stayer is. But with this system you do not keep track of any visa over-stayer in the European Union. You just know that they have not left. There is no added value in this system. It will cost EUR one billion – that is the estimation of a study of this House. It will be an unnecessary collection of much information about travellers who are completely innocent. In July, the Court of Justice ruled that the Canadian authorities, in the case of PNR data, are not allowed to retain the data of travellers longer than the time of their travels in Canada. They have to delete the data after the exit, unless there is a risk or a suspicion. What we expect from the Canadian authorities with regard to our citizens, we should also respect with regard to citizens of third—countries like Canada.

We propose to limit the collection to 181 days, which is the longest any non-EU national can stay in the European Union, and after that only on risk or suspicion. We hope that you will vote in favour of that to make a legal proposal here.

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