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Member states to start negotiations with EP on EU entry-exit system

Maltese Presidency secures Council position on establishing EU entry-exit system for stronger border control, paving the way for negotiations with the European Parliament

2 March 2017, 6:46pm
EU ambassadors have endorsed a Council position needed to start negotiations with the European Parliament on a proposal for an Entry-Exit System which will strengthen border control and security in the EU.

The agreement by Member States follows the push given by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU at technical negotiations in order to reach a compromise which is “both effective and realistic”.

Once it comes into force, the new Entry-Exit System will register information relating to the entry, exit and refusal of entry of third-country (non-EU) nationals crossing the external border of the European Union.

The Maltese Presidency said that securing this Council position was important to make tangible progress with respect to improving security and managing migration. It reiterated that Malta has consistently called for a holistic approach, whereby parallel progress is made on various elements. Amongst these is the need to improve border control.

“Bringing our border controls up to date will help us manage the increasing flow of travellers. It is also a basic tool for managing migration better, in particular cases of overstays, as well as for improving our response to the current terrorist threat,” home affairs minister Carmelo Abela said.

The Council’s position on the new entry-exit system envisages that, once implemented, it will help reduce border check delays and improve the quality of border checks by automatically calculating the authorised stay of each traveller; ensure systematic and reliable identification of over stayers and those who no longer fulfill the conditions for entry; strengthen internal security and the fight against terrorism by allowing law enforcement authorities access to a travel history records.

“The Maltese Presidency, together with its Council partners from Member States, has ensured that its mandate includes several important safeguards relating to the way in which information is stored as well as who can access the information.”

During the meeting, EU Ambassadors also agreed on a parallel mandate to make the necessary amendments to the Schengen Borders Code in view of the Entry-Exit System.

The agreements allow for the Maltese Presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament on behalf of the Council.

Agreement on visa liberalisation for Ukrainians reached
 
The EU Ambassadors alsp confirmed an agreement reached by the Maltese Presidency  with representatives of the European Parliament on visa liberalisation for Ukrainian citizens.
 
"The agreement with the European Parliament was reached in a single meeting, indicating the strong commitment of both the Maltese Presidency and its colleagues in the European Parliament to reinforce economic and cultural interaction between the EU and Ukraine."
 
Once the agreement goes through its formalisation process over the coming months, Ukrainian citizens in possession of a biometric passport will be able to travel to the EU without a visa for a period of stay of 90 days within a 180-day period.