Plans to speed up and strengthen border checks at the EU’s borders for non-EU travellers got a first green light from EP and Council negotiators.
Parliament and Council negotiators reached an agreement on political issues on Thursday on a new EU entry-exit system (EES), with a view to an overall agreement being reached once remaining technical issues have been addressed.
The new system will register information on entry, exit and refusal of entry of non-EU nationals, both for visa-required and visa exempt travellers who cross the external borders of the Schengen area.
It would replace the stamping of passports with an electronic system that stores data on the traveller, so as to facilitate fast crossings, while making it easier to detect over-stayers and document or identity fraud.
EES would help to check that the authorised duration of a stay in the Schengen area is respected (90 days in any 180 day period).
Main points of the agreement
- The data retention period is set at three years, instead of the proposed five years; only if there is no exit record following the date of expiry of the period of authorised stay, the data shall be stored for a period of five years.
- The data stored in the EES can be consulted to prevent, detect or investigate terrorist offences or other serious criminal offences; asylum authorities will not have access to the EES.
- Data may be transferred to non-EU countries for law enforcement and return purposes, only if a series of conditions is fulfiled. Under certain conditions, data can be shared with member states not operating under the EES or to which this regulaton does not apply.
- Member states will be able to establish national facilitation programmes and to provide for swifter, even smoother border check procedures for pre-checked travellers, by veryfiyng their travel history through the EES.
Once remaining technical issues are addressed, the provisional agreement will be put to the vote by Civil Liberties Committee and then Parliament as a whole.