Monica Macovei: “Mandatory checks are crucial to securing our external borders”
Today the European Parliament voted for increased border security with new rules tightening the screening of EU citizens and third country nationals entering or leaving the EU. From now on, it will be possible to carry out systematic data checks at external borders to identify travellers returning from battlefields or using counterfeited or stolen documents.
MEP Monica Macovei, who worked as lead rapporteur on the legislation and led the negotiations, was satisfied with the achieved outcome. “Border security is always a compromise between security, practicality and privacy, but in my mind security has to come first. We have to tackle the ever deteriorating security situation and stop returning foreign fighters at our borders”.
New checks, designed to improve security inside the EU, will be mandatory for all EU citizens, members of their families who are not EU citizens and third country nationals. The new system will utilize EU-wide databases as much as possible when doing border checks, in particular the Schengen Information System, the Interpol database on stolen or lost travel documents and other European databases.
There have been some worries that new systematic checks might cause too lengthy border delays for airports. To address this challenge there will be a transitional period of up to six months for airports to adjust their air border infrastructure, plus, if necessary, an additional 18 months under exceptional circumstances.