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Managing borders in a globalised world - 13/02/2008

Fishing boat with would-be immigrants is escorted into port.

New package seeks to deal with pressures of migration and people trafficking – while keeping things easy for legitimate travellers.

With last year’s expansion of its Schengen border-free area and the steady abolition of its internal border checks, it is more important than ever for the EU to manage its external borders coherently. In a bid to do this without making life difficult for legitimate travellers, the Commission this week put forward a package of measures.

First, a new European border surveillance system should reduce the number of immigrants crossing the EU’s external borders undetected. The system also aims to boost internal security in the EU by preventing cross-border crime such as terrorism, human trafficking, drug smuggling and illegal arms trade.

Other measures reflect the EU’s determination to reduce the tragic death toll of illegal immigrants by rescuing more lives at sea. More joint operations between member countries are on the cards as the EU’s border agency, Frontex, steps up its activities, including patrolling the sea and training national border guards. A permanent European system of border guards is also mooted.

New technologies will also play their part. A system to register the entry and exit of non-EU nationals, an electronic travel authorisation system and other border-management tools. “The most advanced technology will be used to reach the highest level of security”, explained Franco Frattini, EU justice and security commissioner.

More on EU action on immigration

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