EU Smart Borders Package Timeline

bordersAs announced by the European Agenda on Security adopted in April 2015 and reiterated by the Agenda on Migration presented in May, the European Commission is about to finalise its revised legislative proposal on Smart Borders. The new proposal, which is supposed to be published next March ahead of the Justice and Home Affairs Council scheduled on 10-11/03, comes at a very delicate time. Growing travellers flows combined with the current refugee crisis are putting the EU common external borders under an increasing pressure and scrutiny and Member States are confronted with increasing difficulties to manage this situation.

 

With the revised proposals on Smart Borders package, the Commission will try to improve the management of external borders and make it more efficient. In particular, the proposal aims to contribute to the fight against irregular migration and facilitate the crossing of EU external borders by frequent, pre-vetted travellers. The new legislative text, which repeals the previous 2013 proposals, will take into account the new elements emerged over the past couple of years, in particular the outcomes of the 6-month pilot project led by the EU-LISA Agency that ended in September 2015 and the results of the public consultation that closed in October 2015.

 

While certainly introducing some new elements and paying more attention to safeguarding travellers’ data, the new proposal is not expected to dramatically change what included in the 2013 draft legislation: the new package will still include regulations on the establishment of an Entry-Exit Systems (EES) and a Registered Traveller Programme (RTP), as well as the required amendments to the Schengen Border Code. One of the main anticipated novelties is that, following the suggestions received from the European Parliament and from different studies, the 2016 proposal will probably suggest the creation of EES and RTP within a single system.    

The new Smart Borders proposal is only the latest initiative taken by the Commission in the area of border management. Back in December, the Commission already proposed to strengthen the EU border agency Frontex and turn it into a European Border and Coast Guard Agency that would even benefit of a “right to intervene” in those Member States that are either overwhelmed or are deemed to be failing to secure their frontiers.

EU funding for Smart Borders is expected only in 2017, shall EU Institutions be able to reach a swift agreement over the year.

You can check here Schuman Associates info-graphic on EU Smart Border Package Timeline.

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