Migration and Home Affairs

'Smart Borders' for the EU - The discussion begins!

Every year more than 700 million EU citizens and non-EU nationals are crossing the EU's external borders. Enabling smooth and fast border crossing for travellers, while ensuring an adequate level of security, is a challenge for many EU States. The 'Smart Borders' Communication adopted today by the European Commission sets out the main options for developing specific systems taking advantage of new technologies. Before presenting any legislative proposals, the Commission wants to make sure that there is a common understanding and commitment. The future 'Smart Borders' initiative should consist of:

  • An Entry/Exit System (EES) to record the time, place of entry and the length of authorised short stay. These data would be available for border control and immigration authorities.
  • A Registered Travellers Programme (RTP) to allow certain groups of frequent travellers to enter the EU using simplified border checks at automated gates.

The possible development of these systems needs to be discussed in light of their added value, technological and data protection implications and costs. The Commission would then present legislative proposals in the course of 2012.

Tuesday, 25 October, 2011