With tensions escalating at the Ukraine-Russia border, Czech Republic officials are planning to ask European Union counterparts to restrict travel for Russians who don’t hold biometric passports, according to a Reuters report.
The proposed restrictions will apply to Russians seeking to enter the Schengen Area, in which travel between the 26 participating states is relatively unrestricted. With Russia’s advance on Ukraine underway, Czech authorities appear to be concerned that bad actors might find their way into the Schengen zone.
Czech Interior Minister Vita Rakusan explained that the country will call on partners in the European Union to mandate that Russian citizens seeking to enter the Schengen Area have biometric passports “so we have clear certainty that the person entering with the passport really is that person.”
The move helps to illustrate the importance of biometric border control, adding a new urgency to its deployment. EU officials had already been planning to implement new entry and exit requirements this year that will require the collection of biometric data from third-party nationals seeking entry to the Schengen Area, with SITA having pitched its biometric self-service kiosks as a solution that could help to ensure compliance with the new requirements at airports.
Another biometric technologies vendor, Vision-Box, announced last summer that it was working with Finnish border authorities to implement what it called the first EU Entry/Exit System within the Schengen Area. At the time, Vision-Box VP Jeff Lennon said that the project made Finland – which shares a border with Russia and has fought multiple defensive wars against its neighbour – “the Smart Borders pioneer”.
While urgent concerns over Russian incursion are now offering a dramatic illustration of the importance of biometric border control and biometric passports, the latter have been a growing trend in recent years thanks to their general benefits in helping to secure borders and make the cross-border screening process less burdensome for travelers. In a report issued last summer, Allied Market Research predicted that the global biometric e-passport market would see a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 29.5 percent between 2021 and 2028.
February 23, 2022 – by Alex Perala