Systematic checks are crucial element of the counter-terrorism agenda
The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament adopted today by a large majority a proposal for a Regulation, which will oblige member states to perform systematic checks on all persons, both EU citizens and third country nationals, when entering and exiting the external borders of the European Union.
ECR MEP Monica Macovei was rapporteur on the file. She was overall satisfied with the result and felt that final text achieved a good balance between border security and border functionality, although there are some aspects within the adopted text which will need further discussion during the trilogues (negotiations between the parliament and EU governments). The rapporteur managed to keep mandatory “systematic” as a general rule, despite the initial opposition from several political groups. Therefore “targeted” checks shall remain as an exception.
Another positive aspect of the text adopted today is that it keeps open the list of relevant databases for the verification of the identity and the nationality of the person and the validity and authenticity of the travel document. This means that not only those listed on the EC proposal could be used (SIS, Interpol, national databases) but also others which prove to be useful in the future for the purpose of this Regulation.
Mrs Macovei stated that we should make sure that we are taking all the necessary steps to fight new emerging security challenges on our borders and reminded that “there is a growing perception among public opinion that we policy-makers aren’t doing enough and always acting late to control the continent’s terrorist threat. We should not wait until we are hit again.” and that: “Although this Regulation would not alone put an end to the terrorism threat, it will certainly be a crucial element in the counter-terrorism agenda.”