Thursday

1st Dec 2022

ID and police checks await all who enter and leave the EU

  • The EU wants to ID check every person crossing the external borders (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Everyone, including EU nationals, will have their IDs checked against police databases under new draft rules every time they enter or exit the EU.

Backed by MEP negotiators and their EU state counterparts on Monday (5 December), the move is the latest in a series of security measures aimed at catching people who fought alongside the Islamic State militant group.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But the plan, which amends the Schengen Borders Code, is also designed to provide the police much greater insight into people suspected of other crimes.

People's IDs will be crossed checked against an EU-level police and border database, the so-called Schengen Information System (SIS), which is riddled with management problems.

The issues are so bad that the European commission plans on unveiling new rules before the end of year to make SIS more effective.

The database currently only allows name and date of birth search queries, providing little protection against the use of fake documents. The EU commission wants to plug the gap by allowing authorities to search the database using biometric information, like fingerprints.

Once the biometric search is developed, the system will further link up to the EU police agency, Europol, and is likely to include a new set of alerts on "wanted unknown persons", where police have evidence of criminal activity but are unable to identify the person behind the offence.

Every EU national will be subject to the digital scrutiny.

The new rules are set to launch next year but still need to be formally adopted by the EU institutions. No date has been announced.

Foreign fighters

Millions of people cross into the EU's passport free Schengen area every week. Last year, authorities registered over 200 million.

Of those, 5,000 EU nationals are thought to have left to fight with militants in either Iraq or Syria.

Half of these are unaccounted for - either missing or dead. The others have returned to Europe, either to resume normal lives or face criminal penalties.

Concerns are mounting that defeated militants in the campaign in Iraq may return to mount attacks in the EU. An Iraqi-led offensive against the Islamic State, with US air and ground support, kicked off in early October.

But Julian King, the EU commissioner for security, told reporters in mid-November not to exaggerate the threat.

"I know there has been some concern and speculation in light of the evolution on the ground in Iraq and in Syria," he said.

"There has been some speculation that we might face an influx of returning foreign fighters, I think that speculation is sometimes exaggerated. I want to be clear, it is not a new threat."

More jihadi attacks likely in Europe, Europol says

The European joint police agency said that the group had shifted focus to so-called soft targets, because indiscriminate attacks on ordinary people have shown most successful in terrorising public opinion.

EU starts border checks on everyone

Border authorities will be required to verify the identities of EU nationals whenever leaving or entering the European Union.

Investigation

UK unlawfully copying data from EU police system

The British government is abusing EU travel security systems, making and using illegal copies of outdated information, and putting innocent people at risk of being red-flagged.

EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary

Prime minister Viktor Orbán's government has to implement 27 measures "fully and correctly" before any payment from the €5.8bn recovery fund can be made, or the suspended €7.5bn of cohesion funds can be unblocked.

Catalan spyware victims demand justice

Victims of the widening spyware scandal in Spain are demanding justice and reparations, following the revelations that journalists, lawyers, civil society and politicians had been targeted.

EU Commission to keep Hungary's EU funds in limbo

The EU executive, on the other hand, is expected to approve Hungary's recovery plan, worth €5.8bn, but only would disburse actual money if Hungary delivers on some 27 key reforms.

Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Terezija Gras from Croatia, Dutchman Hans Leijtens, and Frontex's current interim executive director Aija Kalnaja, are all competing for a job left vacant by the resignation of Fabrice Leggeri.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  2. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  3. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs
  4. Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?
  5. Why the EU asbestos directive revision ... needs revising
  6. Nato renews membership vow to Ukraine
  7. Catalan spyware victims demand justice
  8. Is the overwhelming critique of Qatar hypocritical?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us