EU lawmakers agree to stronger external border checks

A new EU regulation will see all travellers entering or leaving the Schengen area being checked against relevant databases

jeanelle_mifsud
Jeanelle Mifsud
7 March 2017, 11:23am
The new regulation obliges member states to carry out systematic checks against relevant databases
The new regulation obliges member states to carry out systematic checks against relevant databases
EU ministers have agreed on a new regulation that will see travellers entering or leaving the EU being checked against relevant databases, regardless of being EU or non-EU nationals.

In amendments to the Schengen Borders Code, the new regulation obliges member states to carry out systematic checks against relevant databases, including the Schengen Information System (SIS) and Interpol’s database on Stolen and Lost Travel Documents, on all individuals at all of the EU’s external borders, be they air, sea or land.

“Reinforcing our external border controls is an important tool for fighting the terrorist threat in Europe and improving the security of our citizens,” national security minister Carmelo Abela said. “Systematic checks at the external borders will provide us with a means to address all potential risks to internal security, including those posed by foreign terrorist fighter returnees.”

The Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU has made strengthening security in the EU one of its six priorities.

The agreement follows a mandate secured last Thursday by the Maltese Presidency from Member States to begin negotiations with the European Parliament for the establishment of a new Entry-Exit System. According to Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU this system will build on the systematic checks by ensuring that third-country nationals entering and exiting the EU are properly recorded.

The Maltese Presidency had made strengthening security in the EU one of its six priorities. 

The new regulation will now be signed by the Maltese Presidency on behalf of the EU Council and the European Parliament. It will then be published in the EU Official Journal and will enter into force 20 days later.