A MAJOR STEP FORWARD FOR ETIAS IMPLEMENTATION
The acceptance of the ETIAS regulatory modifications constitutes a significant step forward for the project as a whole. The legislation governing the system’s technological implementation were one of the final key challenges for EU policymakers to clear.
The legislative frameworks required to manage data are now in place, thanks to the clarification and agreement of the ETIAS amendments by the EP and European Council. This permits ETIAS’s technical implementation to continue ahead of its scheduled November 2023 debut date.
Many EP members, including rapporteur Jeroen Lenaers MEP, who played a key role in negotiating the crucial amendments, applauded the achievement.
“Today’s vote was critical,” Lenaers said on Twitter. “We have put in place a risk assessment system that allows us to know who is entering the EU.” Travel will be restricted to individuals who constitute a security risk. We protect our EU borders and our citizens.”
WHAT DO THE ETIAS CHANGES MEAN FOR TRAVELLERS?
The approved legal amendments will have little impact on the user experience for ETIAS travellers because most of the necessary changes will take place behind the scenes. They will, however, make ETIAS data management more secure and easier to handle.
Furthermore, the ability of EU institutions to cross-reference passenger data will help to protect both visitors and residents of the bloc. The agreed-upon changes will make it easier for systems to detect any potential discrepancies or issues with a passenger’s criminal, immigration, and travel history.
WHAT NEW ETIAS AMENDMENTS HAVE BEEN ADDED BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT?
The European Parliament accepted two further changes on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, following further talks with the European Council:
- Only the ETIAS Central System can see flags about criminal convictions
- The flags must be removed after 15 years, or 25 in case of terrorist offences
Furthermore, it has agreed to revisions to a third article on ETIAS access to the European Criminal Records Information System on Third-Country Nationals, ECRIS-TCN, which sets the technological foundation for the travel authorization system. The ECRIS-TCN database provides information on foreign nationals and stateless people convicted of major crimes or terrorist offences.
According to the press release, “the Central System will now alert Member State systems about erroneous hits arising from automated processing in a way that ensures data subjects’ confidentiality.”
False hits were previously feared to be a problem with the new ETIAS legislation. Issues will be avoided with the most recent amendments.