Topic

Strengthening the Schengen external borders

24.02.2014 - 14:45
Travel

With the strong support of the EPP Group, the control of Europe’s external borders has been tightened and tools to monitor the EU’s external borders and prevent illegal entries have been enhanced. This results ingreater security for the Member States and for the Union as a whole.

1 - Improvement of European border management

The EPP Group has pushed for an increased role and enhanced tasks for Frontex, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the EU External Borders, in order for it to be in position to effectively help border authorities from different EU countries work together. Successful action has been taken in this regard:

  • Integrated border management:Created in 2004, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the EU (Frontex) has already been involved in several operations to identify and prevent illegal immigration into the EU.
  • The Schengen evaluation system: strengthens the protection of fundamental rights and freedom of movement while reinforcing the security of European citizens. It provides the tools to fight against the illegal reintroduction of border controls at internal borders, to identify security threats in the Schengen area, and to encourage mutual trust between Member States.
  • Border surveillance system:With the full support of the EPP Group, the EUROSUR system was adopted and launched in 2013. It will enable both the lives of migrants and the EU’s external borders to be better protected. This communication system is designed to enhance information-sharing and reinforce cooperation to better detect, prevent and combat illegal immigration and cross-border crime. This is done in full compliance with EU fundamental rights standards (respecting the ‘non-refoulement’ principle and ensuring that any exchange of personal data remains an exception).

2 - A common registration system to deal with legal migration

In order to meet the objective of more modern and efficient border management (“Smart Borders”), the EU invested in advanced technical methods and technology, designed to facilitate checks and surveillance at external borders. They are fundamental to guaranteeing that EU citizens fully enjoy the right of free movement.

  • The Registered Traveller Programme (RTP): allows certain groups of frequent travellers from third countries to enter the EU through simplified border checks (according to strict conditions).
  • The Entry/Exit System: allows the recording of time and place of entry and exit of third country nationals.
  • Schengen Information System II: SIS is used by border guards, police, customs, visa and judicial authorities throughout the Schengen area. It holds information on persons who may have been involved in a serious crime or may not have the right to enter or stay in the EU. It also contains missing person alerts. In 2013, the second generation of SIS enhanced its functionalities to make it more effective while providing stronger data protection. SIS is now one of the world’s largest IT systems in this field.

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