Every year, millions of travellers from non-EU countries cross the external borders of the Schengen Area, the largest free-travel area in the world for work or travel. To increase internal security and contribute to the modernisation of external border management, the EU has agreed on the establishment of an Entry-Exit System (EES) which will register the entry and exit at the EU external borders of non-EU nationals who are not residing in the Schengen Area.
The EES will change the way Member States will manage the EU external borders to increase external border protections standards. It will centralize and store information on external borders crossings, including the non-EU traveller’s name, travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and facial image) and the date, time and place of entry or exit, in full respect of fundamental rights and data protection.
Benefits of the EES:
- Automated border checks
- Easier border crossing for bona-fide travellers
- Detection of persons who remain in the Schengen Area unauthorised
- Support in the identification of criminals, including terrorists and other individuals who are committing identity and document fraud
Before the system becomes operational, Member States need to adapt their border management processes, staffing and infrastructure at border crossing points. While the preparation of the national systems to collect the information required by the EES is the responsibility of each Member State, eu-LISA is responsible for the development and operation of the central ICT components and Frontex supports Member States in the preparations for its implementation.
EES Support Package
The Entry-Exit System will fundamentally change the way border guards work and Frontex, with its expertise in integrated border management, will play a key role in it.
Frontex identified a number of areas in which the agency can support national authorities in the implementation of the system. From pilot projects and testing local solutions to providing training and advice to border control authorities, Frontex offers national authorities an array of services.
Frontex can procure and organise pilot projects at border crossing points. Last year, such trials were organised in Bulgaria and Spain. The exercise simulated the future EES environment by collecting and processing travel document and biometric data from travellers who volunteered to participate in the pilot in full compliance with fundamental rights and personal data protection measures.
The agency will also train national border guards, advise on national training plans and procedures integrating existing equipment. Frontex can also identify border crossing points that need support and plan the deployment of standing corps officers with advanced knowledge of EES.
In addition, Frontex is planning to create a practical toolkit for all border guard officers across Europe to assist them in the roll-out of the new system.