”We need to know who is crossing our borders. By November, we will propose an automated system to determine who will be allowed to travel to Europe. This way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here.” – President Jean-Claude Juncker, 2016 State of the Union Address
The Commission is today proposing to establish a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to strengthen security checks on visa-free travellers. This follows the announcement in September by President Juncker in his 2016 State of the Union address, and is a first deliverable of the priorities for action identified in the Bratislava Roadmap. The ETIAS will gather information on all those travelling visa-free to the European Union to allow for advance irregular migration and security checks. This will contribute to a more efficient management of the EU’s external borders and improve internal security, whilst at the same time facilitating legal travel across Schengen borders.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “Securing our borders and protecting our citizens is our first priority. ETIAS will close an information gap by cross-checking visa exempt applicants’ information against all our other systems. At the same time, the future ETIAS will be easy, quick, cheap and effective.”
Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “ETIAS is the missing link in our border management, connecting the dots with our migration and security policies and enhancing Schengen entry for at least 95% of visa-free travellers. Europe’s openness does not come at the cost of its security.”
Security Union Commissioner Julian King said: “Terrorists and criminals don’t care much for national borders. The only way to defeat them is by working together effectively. ETIAS will help do that: by spotting problem individuals and stopping them from coming, we’ll enhance Europe’s internal security.”
The ETIAS authorisation is not a visa; it is a lighter and more visitor-friendly regime. Nationals of visa liberalisation countries will still be able to travel without a visa but will have to obtain a simple travel authorisation prior to their travel to the Schengen Area.
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