This week the European Parliament voted on a new information gathering system, which aims to more accurately identify any potential security risks posed by non-EU citizens who wish to enter any country within the European Union.
There are 62 countries who are not in the European Union (EU) whose citizens can enter the EU Schengen Zone without needing a visa. Citizens of these countries are allowed to go into countries in the Schengen Zone for business or travel purposes for up to 90 days. During these 90 days, these visitors are not allowed to work or study, but can engage in business and tourism activities.
“While the existing border management information systems do address some of the information gaps concerning non-EU citizens coming into the EU, there is a lack of information related to visa-exempt third-country nationals arriving at the Schengen external borders,” said Brian Hayes MEP.
“The European Commission is proposing to set up an automated system that would gather information on visa-exempt travellers prior to their arrival, in order to determine any irregular migration, security or public-health risks associated with them.
“The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will undergo a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether they can be allowed to enter any Schengen Zone country and follows similar models already existing in the USA, Canada and Australia.
“Besides making travelling more secure, the ETIAS authorization will also assist the EU countries and all travellers in the following ways:
- Reduce procedures and application times
- Improve the management of EU country borders
- Assist in detecting and decreasing crime and terrorism
- Impede irregular migration
- Reinforce the visa liberalization policy of the EU
“This system was formally adopted by a vote this week and is expected to be fully operational by 2020.
“Strengthening the EU’s external borders is key to ensuring internal security and to preserving freedom of movement in the Schengen area and this system further safeguards that,” concluded MEP Hayes.