October 31, 2011
The European Commission has adopted a Communication which sets out the main options for using new technologies, such as biometrics, to simplify life for foreigners frequently travelling to the EU and to better monitor third-country nationals crossing the borders.
Enabling smooth and fast border crossing for travellers, while ensuring an adequate level of security, is a challenge for many Member States. Every year more than 700 million EU citizens and third country nationals cross the EU’s external borders. This number is expected to rise significantly in the future. By 2030 the number of people at European airports could increase by 80%, which will result in longer delays and queues for travellers if border checking procedures are not modernised in time.
“The Union must continue to modernise the management of its external borders and ensure that the Schengen area is better equipped to cope with future challenges”, said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs. “The ‘Smart Borders’ initiative would speed up border crossing for regular travellers but could also help us to better secure our external borders. We now need to make sure that the most efficient systems are in place and I am looking forward to discussing the available options with the European Parliament, the Council and the European Data Protection Supervisor”.
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