Bolstering Schengen area Entry and Exit System vital for improved border security
MEPs today endorsed an agreement that will see the introduction of electronic identity checks at the EU’s external borders. The ECR Group’s spokesman on the proposals, Jussi Halla-aho MEP, has welcomed the agreement which he views as vital to secure the EU’s external border and better manage the EU’s immigration system.
The new system aims to control short-term stays more efficiently and has been agreed following lengthy discussions between the European Parliament and the Council. The system will replace manual passport stamping and collect information about the identity of the traveller, four fingerprints, a visual image as well as information on the date and place of entry and exit. Data on people refused entry will be retained in order to prevent them attempting to arrive via. a different border using another or false travel document.
Speaking after the vote, Halla-aho said:
“If we are to ensure that our external borders and immigration systems are properly controlled then a modernised Schengen area benefitting from Electronic data collection is essential. An effective European security policy needs a rigorous and efficient border controls and the new Entry / Exit System is a positive step.”
The ECR Group specifically welcomed the provisions facilitating access to the data for law enforcement and other national authorities.
“Much of the data collected by the system could be vital in the fight against organised crime and terrorism – it’s crucial that national police forces and Europol will now have access to the data. A joined up system will also help to prevent people that are refused entry attempting to cross at different border points or by using alternative or false documents. In addition authorities will now also be able to better track travellers illegally overstaying.”