At its meeting on 2 March 2017, the Permanent Representatives Committee agreed on the mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament the Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing an Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data and refusal of, entry data of third country nationals crossing the external borders of Member States of the European Union and determining the conditions for access to the EES for law enforcement purposes.
What is the Entry/Exit System (EES)?
The EES represents a Central European System for the recording and storage of information on the date, time and place of entry and exit of third country nationals crossing the borders at which the EES is operated of the Member States, for the calculation of the duration of their authorised stay, and for the generation of alerts to Member States when the authorised stay has expired. The system will record as well the date, time and place of refusal of entry of third country nationals whose entry for a short stay [or on the basis of a touring visa] has been refused as well as the authority of the Member State which refused the entry and the reasons for the refusal.
Technically, the EES should consist of a Central System, which will operate a computerised central database of biometric and alphanumeric data, a National Uniform Interface in each Member State, a Secure Communication Channel between the EES Central System and the VIS Central System and the Communication Infrastructure between the Central System and the National Uniform Interfaces. Each Member State should connect its national infrastructures necessary for border check to the National Uniform Interface.
Purpose of the EES
The objectives of the EES, shall be inter alia:
- to assist in the identification of a third country national who does not, or does no longer fulfil the conditions for entry to or for short stay [or stay based on touring visa] on the territory of the Member States.
- to allow to identify and detect overstayers and enable competent national authorities of the Member States to take appropriate measures including to increase the possibilities for return.
- to enable automation of border checks procedure- ‘automated border control”
- to enable visa authorities to have access to information on the lawful use of previous visas.
- to inform third country nationals of the duration of their authorised stay.
What is an automated border control?
Automated Border Control system' means a system which allows for an automated border passage, and which is composed of a self-service system and an e-gate.
Self-service system' means an automated system which performs all or some of the border checks that are applicable to a person and which may be used for pre-enrolling data in EES.
'e-gate' means an infrastructure operated by electronic means where the effective crossing of a border takes place.
How it will practically work ?
- The abandoning of passport stamping will be compensated by a consultation of the EES.
- The EES should process alphanumeric data and biometric data (fingerprints and facial image).
- Four fingerprints of visa exempt third country nationals should be enrolled in the EES, if physically possible, to allow for accurate verification and identification (ensuring that the third country national is not already enrolled under another identity or with another travel document) and to guarantee that sufficient data is available in every circumstance.
- The check of the fingerprints of visa holders will be done against the Visa Information System (VIS). Interoperability should be established between the EES and the VIS by way of an automatic communication channel between the Central Systems to enable the border check authorities using the EES to consult the VIS in order to retrieve visa-related data to create or update the entry/exit record or refusal of entry record to enable the border check authorities to verify the validity of the visa and the identity of a visa holder by means of fingerprints automatically against the VIS.
- A five-year data retention period is necessary to allow the border guard performing the necessary risk analysis requested by the Schengen Borders Code before authorising a traveller entering the territory of Member States.