- Checks, including identification, taking biometric data, health and security checks, may last up to seven days
- Access to emergency health care and essential treatment for illness
- Unaccompanied minors always have the right to apply for international protection
- Outcome of screening to be used to decide on follow-up procedures: asylum or return procedure
- Independent fundamental rights monitoring mechanism in every member state
On Tuesday, co-legislators provisionally agreed on new rules for checks at EU borders and within its territory for people who entered the EU in an irregular manner.
The new screening rules will apply to people that do not fulfil the conditions to enter an EU member state, who were apprehended entering the EU irregularly outside border crossing points or disembarking following a search and rescue operation, or have applied for international protection at a border crossing. Screening can be carried out at any adequate location designated by each EU country and situated in principle at or in proximity to the external borders as well as in other locations within the territory.
Third-country nationals found within the EU’s territory will be subject to screening only if they have crossed an external border to enter the territory of a member states in an unauthorised manner. Third-country nationals who have undergone the screening once will not have to repeat it.
Type of checks and duration
Checks can last seven days at most and include identifying or verifying someone’s identity, taking Eurodac biometric data, and a preliminary health and vulnerability assessment. Security checks will also be carried out, by accessing relevant databases (in particular the Schengen Information System, the Entry/Exit System, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System ETIAS and the European Criminal Records Information System - Third Country Nationals ECRIS-TCN system).
Third-country nationals undergoing screening have to be available to authorities to perform the above checks and may be detained to ensure it. They will have access to emergency health care and essential treatment if they are ill.
The best interests of the child, in particular unaccompanied minors, should always be a primary consideration during screening. A representative should be appointed to support unaccompanied minors in the screening process. Even if the unaccompanied minor is not represented, they should always have the right to apply for international protection.
Fundamental rights monitoring mechanism
MEPs secured a strong, independent monitoring mechanism in each member state to protect fundamental rights of people undergoing screening.
Birgit Sippel (S&D, DE), who steered the negotiations, said after the agreement: “Following difficult negotiations, we have found a comprehensive agreement that will ensure everyone irregularly arriving in the EU will undergo identity, security, health and vulnerability checks. We have also introduced a fundamental rights monitoring mechanism to oversee compliance with EU and international law during screenings.”
The provisionally agreed text needs to be endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee and the EP plenary, as well as the Council, before it can be published in the Official Journal and enter into force.
The new screening regulation is part of the wider revamp of the EU’s common asylum and migration rules, on which negotiators from Parliament and Council reached a comprehensive deal today. You can find more information here.