Communication: Stronger and smarter information systems for borders and security

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details (2016) 205 final (6.4.16)
Publication Date 06/04/2016
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Europe is a mobile society. Millions of EU citizens and third-country nationals cross internal and external borders every day. In 2015, more than 50 million non-EU nationals visited the EU, accounting for more than 200 million border crossings at the external borders of the Schengen area. Beyond these regular travel flows, in 2015 alone, conflict in Syria and crises elsewhere triggered 1.8 million irregular border crossings at Europe's external borders. EU citizens expect external border controls on persons to be effective, to allow effective management of migration and to contribute to internal security. The terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 and in Brussels in March 2016 bitterly demonstrated the ongoing threat to Europe's internal security.

Both elements brought into sharper focus the need to join up and strengthen the EU’s border management, migration and security cooperation frameworks and information tools in a comprehensive manner. Border management, law enforcement, and migration control are dynamically interconnected. EU citizens are known to have crossed the external border to travel to conflict zones for terrorist purposes and pose a risk upon their return. There is evidence that terrorists have used routes of irregular migration to enter the EU and then moved within the Schengen area undetected.

The European Agendas on Security and on Migration have set the direction for the development and implementation of EU policy to address the parallel challenges of migration management and the fight against terrorism and organised crime. This Communication builds on the synergies between these two Agendas and is intended as a starting point for a discussion on how existing and future information systems could enhance both external border management and internal security in the EU. It is complementary to the December 2015 proposal on the creation of a European Border and Coast Guard and the improvement of crisis prevention and intervention at the external borders.

There are a number of information systems at EU level that provide border guards and police officers with relevant information on persons, but the EU data management architecture is not perfect. This Communication sets out some possible options for maximising the benefits of existing information systems and, if necessary, developing new and complementary actions to address gaps. It also highlights the need to improve the interoperability of information systems as a long-term objective, as also identified by the European Council and the Council, and presents ideas on how information systems can be developed in the future to ensure that border guards, customs authorities, police officers and judicial authorities have the necessary information at their disposal.

Any future initiative would be prepared on the basis of better regulation principles with public consultation and assessment of the impacts, including as concerns fundamental rights and in particular the right to the protection of personal data.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: Stronger and smarter borders in the EU: Commission proposes to establish an Entry-Exit System
eu-LISA: Report, 2015: Smart Borders: Report on the technical conclusions of the pilot project
eu-LISA: Report, 2015: Smart Borders: Annexes to the pilot report
eu-LISA: Report, 2015: Smart Borders: The results in brief
eu-LISA: Report, 2015: Conference Report "The future tested: Towards a Smart Borders reality"
eu-LISA: About us: Smart borders

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