EU 'Smart Borders' - enhancing mobility and security:
Extracts from the press conference by Cecilia MALMSTRÖM, Member of the EC in charge of Home Affairs
Première transmission: 28/02/2013
Brussels, Belgium - EC/Berlaymont
Fin de production: 28/02/2013
The EU is moving towards a more modern and efficient border management by using state-of-the-art technology. Today, the Commission proposed a 'smart border package' to speed-up, facilitate and reinforce border check procedures for foreigners travelling to the EU. The package consists of a Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) and an Entry/Exit System (EES) that will simplify life for frequent third country travellers at the Schengen external borders and enhance EU border security.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the Berlaymont building
||Cutaway of Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Home Affairs
||SOUNDBITE by Cecilia Malmström (In English) saying that: 2 years ago, the EU Heads of State and Government asked the European Commission to reinforce the management of external borders and guarantee the free movement of persons.
Answering their request I am presenting today a 'Smart Borders' package that will help facilitate a more open and secure Europe, relying on state-of-the-art technologies.
The EU has extensive borders with around 1.800 external border crossing points; the number of persons crossing those borders is substantial and is expected to increase even more in the future. In fact the number of arrivals by air alone is estimated to almost double by 2030 increasing from 400 to over 720 million.
||General view of the audience
||SOUNDBITE by Cecilia Malmström (In English) saying that: So, proposals consist of a Registered Traveller Program (RTP) and an Entry/Exit System (EES) that will facilitate, speed-up and reinforce the border check procedures at EU's external borders for third country nationals.
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE by Cecilia Malmström (In English) saying that: The new EU Registered Traveller Programme will facilitate border crossings, introducing a faster and simpler border check process thanks to automated border gates and a simplified border check for pre-screened frequent third country travellers.
Participation in the Programme will be entirely on a voluntary basis and both visa holders and non-visa holders from all third-countries are able to apply for it.
Upon their request, they will be vetted and pre-screened and if approved they will be given a token, probably in the form of a machine-readable card.
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE by Cecilia Malmström (In English) saying that: We don't have an overview of people entering the EU and it is difficult to detect those who abuse the system by staying beyond their visa expiry date.
With the Entry/Exit System we will introduce new technologies, allowing for an accurate and reliable calculation of the authorised period of stay, as well as the verification of the individual travel history for both visa holders and visa exempted travellers.
For the first time, it will be possible to have a real time picture of which third country nationals are present in the Schengen area.
||Cutaway of a cameraman
||SOUNDBITE by Cecilia Malmström (In English) saying that: Developing the two systems will require substantial financial investments, and support by the EU budget will be needed. For the period between 2015 and 2020, the estimated costs for the development and operation are over € 500 million for the EES and almost € 600 million for the RTP. However using them together can reduce costs marginally.
But the costs must also be seen in conjunction with the savings that will follow more effective border checks. The new systems will boost the ability to handle growing number of travellers without having to increase the number of border guards.
The financial benefits of facilitating travel for tourists and business travellers coming to Europe also have to be taken into account as well.
||Cecilia Malmström leaving the press room