Thursday

15th Nov 2018

EU ministers to discuss 'smart borders'

  • Syrian refugees walking across Serbia-Croatia border (Photo: iom.int)

EU interior ministers are meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday (8 October) to discuss how to ramp up external border controls and expedite returns of unwanted migrants.

The ministers are hoping to stem the flow of migrants and better manage the number of asylum seekers trying to enter the EU.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • EU Council in Brussels (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Around 500,000 were detected crossing the external borders in the first eight months of this year. Most first entered Greece before heading through the Western Balkans and onto Hungary and beyond.

'Smart borders'

Among the ideas is the future roll-out of a €1 billion digital dragnet known as 'smart borders'.

Smart borders is a two-tiered system of biometric scans of visiting non-EU nationals – the registered travellers programme (RTP) and the entry-exit system (EES).

The European Commission had presented the package in 2013 but it was temporarily shelved following concerns over projected costs and possible law enforcement access.

An EU diplomat on Wednesday (7 October) said the Commission is set to make new smart border proposals before the end of year.

"The wider debate on the Schengen external border will also look at how you can use technology better and the commission is bringing forward some proposals on that towards the end of the year on smart borders", he said.

Tanja Fajon, a centre-left Slovenian MEP, is one of the European Parliament's lead negotiators on the file. Earlier this year she lampooned the Commission's original package.

"[The] indiscriminate mass collection of data without a specific just cause must be a concern for all of us", she said.

But interior ministers are set to it discuss and will also listen to a presentation by the Commission for a future European border and coast guard body.

EU border guards

Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande in Strasbourg said the pan-EU border corps is necessary.

The idea is not new. EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos had already spoken about it last November.

The Commission had also financed a feasibility study on it. Published last year, the study suggested a three-phase approach on setting it up.

The final phase proposed an entirely new agency - the committee on Schengen border management (CSBM). It would be composed of border guards under an EU-level command structure.

The Commission, for its part, will make a proposal sometime in December.

The EU's border agency Frontex will be key.

In September, the European Commission announced the agency's mandate would be enhanced in order to get the supra-national border agency up and running.

"This means strengthening Frontex and enhancing its mandate, and developing a fully operational European border and coast guard", it said.

IT security system threatens EU rights

EU commission wants to link up all information systems on security, border, and migration, drawing a rebuke from own rights agency.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  2. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May
  3. Denmark blocks Tanzania aid over homophobic crackdown
  4. Second UK cabinet minister resigns over Brexit deal
  5. UK Brexit secretary quits morning after deal agreed
  6. Romanian MPs call for national 'Magnitsky Act'
  7. Tusk: Brexit summit on Sunday 25 November
  8. Full text of Brexit withdrawal agreement published

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  2. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  3. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  4. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  5. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  6. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM put Orban on spot
  7. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability
  8. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us