Written by Hubert Dalli,
This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission’s Impact Assessment (IA) accompanying the above Commission proposals, submitted on 6 April 2016 and referred to Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
Between 2002 and 2011 the European Commission issued a series of communications envisaging integrated management of the external borders of the Union. In February 2013 the Commission put forward the Smart Borders Package (the 2013 Package) consisting of three draft regulations: (i) one on the establishment of an Entry/Exit system (EES) to register entry and exit data of third country nationals (TCN) crossing the external borders of the Member States of the European Union, (ii) one on the establishment of a Registered Traveller Programme (RTP), and (iii) one to make the necessary amendments in the Schengen Borders Code with regard to the EES and the RTP. The package was accompanied by impact assessments. Initial appraisals of the quality those impact assessments pointed out shortcomings in the evidence base of the proposed measures. Although there seemed to be consensus regarding the need for the establishment of an EU EES, in the examination of that package the European Parliament and the Council raised technical, financial and operational concerns on the proposed system.
In response to these concerns the Commission embarked on a two-stage ‘proof of concept’ exercise. This started with a technical study on Smart Borders which was completed in October 2014. The technical study identified a limited set of technical options which were then tested in a pilot project carried out by eu-LISA and completed in November 2015 (the pilot). The new IA, which is the subject of this appraisal, explains that the pilot was carried out in 18 border crossing points in 12 Member States, where 78 test variations were conducted. It served to collect quantitative test case results and feedback from travellers and border guards.
On the basis of the ‘proof of concept’ exercise and of consultations with the co-legislators, stakeholders and the public, the Commission decided to modify its 2013 package by revising the proposed regulation on the establishment of an EES and the proposed regulation making the necessary amendments in the Schengen Borders Code (these are the proposals now under consideration) whilst withdrawing the originally proposed regulation on the establishment of an RTP.
Read the complete briefing on ‘The Establishment of an EU Entry/Exit System‘.
Impact Assessment (SWD (2016)115, SWD (2016)116 (summary)) of Commission proposals for (1) a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data and refusal of entry data of third country nationals crossing the external borders of the Member States of the European Union, determining the conditions for access to the EES for law enforcement purposes and amending Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 and Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 (COM(2016)194) and (2) a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 as regards the use of the Entry/Exit System (EES) (COM(2016)196).