Communication: Enhancing security in a world of mobility: improved information exchange in the fight against terrorism and stronger external borders

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details (2016) 602 final (14.9.16)
Publication Date 14/09/2016
Content Type ,

The Schengen area is one of the EU's most cherished achievements, bringing unique economic and societal gains as an area without controls at internal borders. But the challenge of maintaining security in an open Europe has been put to a huge test in recent years. The pressures of the migration and refugee crisis, alongside a wave of terrorist attacks, have demanded a new approach. The European Agenda on Migration and the European Agenda on Security have shown how deeper cooperation provides an answer not only in terms of crisis response, but also in terms of using shared pools of expertise and knowledge to build a more robust and lasting European system, one equal to the task of providing the strong borders and smart intelligence needed to ensure a secure Europe.

This Communication takes this agenda a step further, setting out practical measures to accelerate and broaden this work. It builds on a powerful consensus – in the institutions and in public opinion – that the EU must do its utmost to help Member States to protect citizens, in a way which maximises the opportunities for cooperation while guaranteeing the full respect of the fundamental rights on which EU societies are based. The background to this work must be a determined effort to maintain progress on the full range of measures under the European Agenda on Migration and the European Agenda on Security.

Strong borders also means reducing the risk of the exceptional pressures seen over the past year, by carrying forward the huge efforts undertaken to restore a stable situation in terms of humanitarian standards and migration management in the wake of the crisis. It means a common approach on asylum and return while also enhancing pathways for legal migration. It means working through the Partnership Framework to reduce the root causes of irregular migration and consolidate a new phase in migration cooperation with key partners. In this way a strong external border will also provide the bedrock for Schengen as an area without controls at internal borders – as set out in the Back to Schengen roadmap – and enhance mobility.

On the security side, an effective and genuine Security Union means Member States working closely together on matters of security, acknowledging that the internal security of one Member State is the internal security of all Member States and of the Union as a whole. Work in areas such as preventing and fighting radicalisation, improving information exchange, protecting citizens and critical infrastructures and cutting the access of terrorists and criminals to firearms or financing needs to be urgently carried through to use every opportunity at the EU's disposal to tackle security threats. Full and swift implementation in all these areas provides the springboard to move still further.

This Communication sets out key workstreams to further implement the European Agendas on Migration and Security and the Security Union. Taken together, the measures are key building blocks for managing migration, facilitating bona fide travel, and working with Member States to enhance security. The faster effective and interactive systems are put in place, the faster the benefits will be felt.

This Communication therefore shows how this work must be accelerated, as well as highlighting additional developments in the short term to further improve the management of external borders, to address security needs and ensure that border guards, customs authorities, asylum services, police officers and judicial authorities have the right information. This intensified use of data puts a particular onus on the need to respect fundamental rights and data protection rules – this means well-designed, correctly-used and properly-regulated technology and information systems, and full safeguards to ensure the protection of private life and personal data.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: State of the Union 2016: Commission targets stronger external borders

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