A group of Belgian European Union affiliates has floated the idea of separating the databases for the planned Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
The EES, a biometric border screening program intended to secure the perimeter of the Schengen free travel area, has now seen multiple delays. The latest came after an EU-LISA meeting near the start of this year, in which the previous deadline for implementation in May 2023 was deemed unachievable. The move was attributed to contractor delays, although the specific contractors responsible were unclear. Air travel stakeholders welcomed the delay, emphasizing the need to address issues to ensure a smooth rollout and operation of the system without disruptions for passengers.
ETIAS, meanwhile, is meant to register foreigners who don’t need a visa to enter the Schengen zone. This system aims to verify the security qualifications and collect a fee from visitors engaging in business, tourism, medical activities, or transit within EU member nations.
The Belgian delegation to the Working Party on Frontiers and Mixed Committee has issued a policy analysis suggesting that “ETIAS can realistically enter into operation in May 2024 if the decision to decouple both projects is validated in June 2023 and on the condition that all requirements have been fulfilled.”
That having been said, the delegation made its recommendation via a “non-paper”, suggesting that it’s just a tentative idea, and not a strong policy proposal. A “non-paper” is an unofficial and informal document that is often presented without clear authorship during closed negotiations within European Union institutions, particularly the Council of Ministers. Its purpose is to facilitate agreement on contentious procedural or policy matters by initiating discussions on controversial topics. Essentially, it is an unofficial discussion paper that is introduced, typically by a member state, to address a contentious issue.
July 10, 2023 – by the FindBiometrics Editorial Team