Tag Archives: External frontier of the European Union

Schengen Borders Code

Schengen Borders Code

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Schengen Borders Code

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Schengen Borders Code

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This regulation applies to any person crossing the internal * or external * borders of a European Union (EU) country.

External borders

External borders may be crossed only at border crossing-points and during the fixed opening hours.

When crossing an external border, European Union (EU) citizens and other persons enjoying the right of free movement within the EU (such as the family members of an EU citizen) undergo a minimum check. This minimum check is carried out to establish their identity on the basis of their travel documents and consists of a rapid and straightforward verification of the validity of the documents and a check for signs of falsification or counterfeiting. Non-EU country nationals are subject to thorough checks. These comprise a verification of the conditions governing entry, including verification in the Visa Information System (VIS) and, if applicable, of documents authorising residence and the pursuit of a professional activity.

For stays not exceeding three months per a six-month period, a non-EU country national must:

  • possess a valid travel document;
  • possess a valid visa, if required;
  • justify the purpose of his/her intended stay and have sufficient means of subsistence;
  • not have an alert issued for him/her in the Schengen Information System (SIS) for the purpose of refusing entry;
  • not be considered a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of EU countries.

If these conditions are not met, entry to the territory is refused, unless special provisions (e.g. for humanitarian reasons) apply.

The travel documents of non-EU country nationals are systematically stamped upon entry and exit. If a travel document does not bear an entry stamp, it may be presumed that the holder does not fulfil, or no longer fulfils, the conditions of stay. However, the non-EU country national may provide any credible evidence of having respected the conditions relating to the duration of a short stay, such as transport tickets or proof of his/her presence outside the territory of the EU countries.

Border checks * are carried out by border guards *. When performing their duties, border guards must fully respect human dignity and may not discriminate against persons on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

EU countries must deploy appropriate staff and resources in sufficient numbers to ensure a high and uniform level of control * at their external borders. They must ensure that border guards are specialised and properly trained professionals. EU countries assist each other with the effective application of border controls. Operational cooperation is coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the EU Countries (FRONTEX).

Internal borders

Irrespective of nationality, any person may cross the internal borders at any crossing-point without checks being carried out. The police may exercise their powers in border zones in the same fashion as elsewhere in their territory, provided that this is not equivalent to the exercise of border checks.

EU countries must remove all obstacles to fluid traffic flow at road crossing-points at internal borders.

Where there is a serious threat to public policy or internal security, an EU country may exceptionally reintroduce border controls at its internal borders for, in principle, a limited period of no more than thirty days. If such controls are to be reintroduced, the other EU countries and the Commission should be informed as soon as possible. The European Parliament should also be informed.

Consultations take place between EU countries and the Commission at least fifteen days before the planned date for the reintroduction of border controls, in order to organise mutual cooperation and to examine the proportionality of the measures to the events giving rise to the reintroduction. The decision to reintroduce border controls at internal borders must be taken in a transparent manner and the public must be informed in full, unless there are overriding security reasons for not doing so.

Under exceptional circumstances, the EU country concerned may reintroduce checks at its internal border immediately, if required by considerations of public order or national security. The other EU countries and the Commission are then notified accordingly.

Background

The Commission communication of 7 May 2002 on the integrated management of external borders set out five essential components for a common policy, including the establishment of a common body of legislation. This was to include a recast of the Common Manual on external borders. The Thessaloniki European Council on 19 and 20 June 2003 invited the Commission to present proposals for said recasting as soon as possible.

This regulation repeals Articles 2 to 8 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 and the Common Manual on external borders.

Key terms used in the act
  • Internal borders: common land borders, including river and lake borders, of EU countries, airports for internal flights, and sea, river and lake ports for regular ferry connections.
  • External borders: EU countries’ land borders, including river and lake borders, sea borders and their airports, river ports, sea ports and lake ports, provided that they are not internal borders.
  • Border control: activities carried out at a border, in response exclusively to an intention to cross a border, and consisting of border checks and border surveillance.
  • Border checks: checks carried out at border crossing-points to ensure that persons, including their means of transport and the objects in their possession, may be authorised to enter or leave the territory of the EU countries.
  • Border guard: any public official assigned, in accordance with national law, to a border crossing point or along the border or the immediate vicinity of that border and who carries out border control tasks.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 562/2006

13.10.2006

OJ L 105 of 13.4.2006

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 296/2008

10.4.2008

OJ L 97 of 9.4.2008

Regulation (EC) No 81/2009

24.2.2009

OJ L 35 of 4.2.2009

Regulation (EC) No 810/2009

5.10.2009

OJ L 243 of 15.9.2009

Regulation (EU) No 265/2010

5.4.2010

OJ L 85 of 31.3.2010

AMENDMENT OF ANNEXES

Annex V, Part A – Procedures for refusing entry at the border:

Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 [Official Journal L 243 of 15.9.2009].

Related Acts

Council Decision 2010/252/EU of 26 April 2010 supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [Official Journal L 111 of 4.5.2010].

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 21 September 2009 on the operation of the provisions on stamping of travel documents of third-country nationals in accordance with Articles 10 and 11 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) [COM(2009) 489 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Visa requirements for non-EU nationals

Visa requirements for non-EU nationals

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Visa requirements for non-EU nationals

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Visa requirements for non-EU nationals

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This regulation harmonises the visa * requirements for non-European Union (EU) nationals entering the EU. It provides a common list of countries whose nationals must hold a visa when crossing the external borders of a Member State (Annex I).

The regulation also lists the countries whose nationals are exempt from the visa requirement for stays of maximum three months (Annex II). In addition, the visa requirement is waived for:

  • non-EU nationals who hold a local border traffic permit;
  • non-EU school pupils who are residents of a Member State and travelling with their schools for the purpose of a school excursion;
  • recognised refugees and stateless persons who hold a travel document from the Member State in which they are residing.

Optional exceptions to the visa requirement

A Member State may grant exceptions to the visa requirement or the exemption from the visa requirement to the following persons:

  • holders of diplomatic, service/official and special passports;
  • civilian air and sea crew;
  • flight crew and attendants on emergency/rescue flights;
  • holders of laissez-passer.

The following persons may also be exempted from the visa requirement:

  • school pupils that are nationals of a non-EU country whose nationals require a visa, but that are residing in a non-EU country that is exempt from this requirement or in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, and that are travelling with their schools for the purpose of a school excursion;
  • recognised refugees and stateless persons residing in and having a travel document from a non-EU country exempt from the visa requirement;
  • holders of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) identification and movement orders, and members of the armed forces travelling within the framework of NATO or Partnership for Peace operations.

An exception to the exemption from a visa requirement may also be made for persons who perform a paid activity during their stay.

Member States must notify each other and the Commission of any exceptions they decide to apply.

Principle of reciprocity: breaches by a non-EU country

If one of the countries whose nationals are exempt from the visa requirement (Annex II) introduces such a requirement for the nationals of a Member State, that Member State must notify the Commission and the Council. This notification is then published in the Official Journal of the EU. Subsequently, the Commission is to contact the authorities of the non-EU country in question with a view to restoring visa-free travel.

Within 90 days of publication of the notification, the Commission must report to the Council. It may propose the temporary restoration of a visa requirement to the nationals of the non-EU country. The Council must take a decision on the proposal within three months. If the non-EU country abolishes the visa requirement, all temporary measures imposed on it will be terminated.

Key terms used in the act
  • Visa: an authorisation issued by a Member State or a decision taken by such a state that is required with a view to:
    1. entry for an intended stay in that Member State or in several Member States of no more than three months in total;
    2. entry for transit through the territory of that Member State or several Member States, except for transit at an airport.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 539/2001

10.4.2001

OJ L 81 of 21.3.2001

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2414/2001

1.1.2002

OJ L 327 of 12.12.2001

Regulation (EC) No 851/2005

25.6.2005

OJ L 141 of 4.6.2005

Regulation (EC) No 1932/2006

19.1.2007

OJ L 405 of 30.12.2006

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

LAST AMENDMENTS OF ANNEXES

Annex I and II
Regulation (EU) No 1211/2010 [OJ L 339 of 22.12.2010].

A comprehensive European migration policy

A comprehensive European migration policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A comprehensive European migration policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

A comprehensive European migration policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 May 2011 – Communication on migration [COM(2011) 248 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Arab spring revolutions in 2011 resulted in a large influx of immigrants from the Southern Mediterranean, who entered the European Union (EU) illegally via the Italian and Maltese coasts. The EU took emergency measures in order to respond to this situation. However, these events have demonstrated the limited resources of the EU in immigration matters and the need for greater solidarity between the Member States in this area.

Therefore, the Commission presents initiatives aimed at establishing a comprehensive European migration policy which is better able to meet the challenges presented by migration. This policy must respect the European tradition of asylum and protection, while preventing illegal border crossings.

Several aspects of migration are addressed:

  • Crossing the borders

The EU’s external border controls must be effective and must enable a high level of security to be maintained while also facilitating the passage of persons authorised to enter the EU. The Commission intends to strengthen the existing common rules. In particular, it envisages creating a European system of border guards. It also insists on improving cooperation between national authorities and the exchange of operational information in the case of incidents at external borders, specifically via the EUROSUR system. The operational capacities of the Frontex agency must also be strengthened.

An evaluation of Member States’ application of the Schengen rules must be undertaken at EU level, with the participation of experts from Member States and Frontex, led by the Commission. The latter also intends to establish a mechanism allowing for a decision, at European level, defining which Member States would exceptionally reintroduce border controls at internal borders.

Lastly, to prevent irregular immigration, the Commission stresses the need for a balanced and effective European return policy (returning illegal immigrants who do not need international protection to their countries). It requires that all Member States transpose into their national law the Return Directive on common standards and procedures for returning illegal immigrants, and the Directive on sanctions against the employment of person staying illegally. Lastly, it recognises the effectiveness of readmission agreements with third countries, but also believes that the latter must be considered within the framework of the EU’s overall relations with the countries concerned and accompanied by incentives that help the countries to implement them.

  • Moving and living in the Schengen area

The Commission advocates better organised mobility based on cooperation (between the European agencies Frontex and Europol, and between customs authorities and national police authorities), and on new technologies. In particular, a European entry-exit system would enable data on border crossings by third country citizens to be made available to the authorities. In addition, a registered traveller programme would enable automated border control for frequent travellers.

Visa policy is also an important instrument in terms of mobility. In order to avoid abuse of visa liberalisation systems, the Commission proposes the introduction of a safeguard clause which would enable the temporary re-introduction of visa requirements for citizens from a third country benefiting from this system.

At the same time, the Union recognises that migrants constitute an indispensible workforce for the EU, both in terms of responding to labour shortages in certain areas, and in terms of providing a highly qualified workforce. It is therefore important to recognise their qualifications and to facilitate administrative procedures. The Commission hopes to make progress on the draft single permit authorising foreigners to live and work in a Member State and calls on the EU countries to transpose into their national law the Directive on the European Blue Card which facilitates the recruitment of highly qualified persons. It has also put forward proposals on seasonal workers and intra-corporate transferees. In order to provide migrants with clear and practical information, the Commission will launch an EU immigration portal this year.

Lastly, the integration of migrants into European society must respect the balance between the rights of the migrants and the law and culture of the receiving country. It requires efforts on the part of both migrants and receiving countries. Successful integration is essential for maximising the economic, social and cultural advantages of immigration, for individuals as well as societies. In July 2011, the Commission presented a European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals.

  • Common European Asylum System

The establishment of a Common European Asylum System must be completed by 2012. It aims to reduce the divergences between EU countries in the outcomes of asylum applications, and to ensure a common set of rights and procedures, as well as compliance with the Geneva Convention on the status of refugees. The European Asylum Support Office will strengthen cooperation in this area.

The Commission insists that the resettlement of refugees (permanent resettlement in a Member State of a refugee who has obtained protection in a third country) must become an integral part of European Asylum Policy.

  • Relations with third countries

Issues relating to migration must be integrated into the EU’s overall external relations. A better balance must be found between organising legal migration, combating irregular migration and maximising the mutual benefits of migration for development. The human dimension must also be strengthened through a migrant-centred approach.

With regard to the Southern Mediterranean countries, the Union has proposed a structured dialogue on migration with the aim of establishing mobility partnerships to facilitate access by their citizens to EU territory in exchange for their collaboration in managing migration flows. The Commission will also revise its Neighbourhood Policy with these countries.

Strengthening the Schengen area

Strengthening the Schengen area

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strengthening the Schengen area

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Free movement of persons asylum and immigration

Strengthening the Schengen area

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 16 September 2011 — Schengen governance — strengthening the area without internal border control [COM(2011) 561 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The revolutions which took place in the southern Mediterranean in the spring of 2011 led to a significant influx of immigrants into some European Union (EU) Member States. These events highlighted the need to make the Schengen area (the EU territory in which the free movement of persons is exercised) better able to react to exceptional situations.

It is clear that the external borders of Europe must be managed in an efficient and consistent manner, on the basis of joint responsibility, solidarity and greater practical cooperation.

Strengthening the management of the Schengen area

Some measures already exist to help Member States facing critical situations and to enable them to fulfil their commitments. In particular, they can obtain financial and practical support through EU funds and can address the European Asylum Support Office or the Frontex Agency which can deploy Rapid Border Intervention Teams to external borders.

Furthermore, the Commission has proposed to strengthen the Schengen evaluation mechanism. This mechanism will monitor EU countries to ensure that they apply the Schengen area rules correctly. According to the new proposed approach, monitoring will be carried out at European level through inspections conducted by Commission and Member State teams. These inspections will result in a report containing the measures to be taken by the country concerned. A follow-up procedure will be put in place to ensure that the recommendations are implemented.

Furthermore, the Commission will present a biannual overview on the functioning of the Schengen area. This overview will provide the basis for a strengthening of cooperation in the Schengen area and will increase mutual trust between Member States, which are jointly responsible for ensuring that all the Schengen rules are actually applied.

Specific support measures are proposed for cases where the evaluation of a Member State reveals serious shortcomings with regard to controls at external borders or the procedure for returning migrants to their country of origin. If the shortcomings are not dealt with, and as a last resort, a European mechanism is proposed which aims to temporarily re-introduce internal border controls.

Putting in place a European mechanism in exceptional circumstances

The Schengen Borders Code already provides the option for a Member State to re-introduce controls at its internal borders where there is a serious threat to public policy or internal security. However, this only relates to a decision taken at national level.

However, the human and economic consequences of such a decision, which affects all the people living in the Schengen area, are not limited to the Member State concerned. In order for the interests of the whole of the Union to be taken into account, the Commission proposes to establish a European mechanism which would enable the decision to be taken by the EU rather than unilaterally by one Member State.

The decision to re-introduce the internal border controls of a Member State will be taken by the Commission for renewable periods of 30 days and, in principle, for a maximum duration of 6 months. It must be a measure of last resort where all other measures have been ineffective. The decision will be taken only when a Member State is confronted by a serious threat to public policy or internal security. It may also concern:

  • a short-term and largely localised situation (for example, major sporting events, high-profile political meetings or terrorist attacks);
  • a situation with wider and longer-term implications, particularly in the case of serious border failure of a Member State at its external borders.

However, in emergencies, EU countries will retain the option to unilaterally re-introduce controls at their internal borders for a limited period of 5 days.

However, in the case of controls being re-introduced, the country or countries concerned must guarantee European citizens or third-country nationals residing legally in the Schengen area the right to move and live freely on EU territory. The latter may therefore still enter the territory of another Member State simply by presenting their passport, identity card or travel document.

RELATED ACTS

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 in order to provide for common rules on the temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders in exceptional circumstances [COM(2011) 560 final — Not published in the Official Journal].

Amended proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2011 on the establishment of an evaluation and monitoring mechanism to verify the application of the Schengen acquis [COM(2011) 559 final — Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 4 May 2011 — Communication on migration [COM(2011) 248 final — Not published in the Official Journal].

Towards integrated maritime surveillance

Towards integrated maritime surveillance

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Towards integrated maritime surveillance

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Maritime affairs

Towards integrated maritime surveillance

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 15 October 2009 – Towards the integration of maritime surveillance: A common information sharing environment for the EU maritime domain [COM(2009) 538 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In the European Union, most data relating to maritime affairs is processed by sectoral authorities. These authorities are responsible for the surveillance and monitoring of activities at sea in the sector under their responsibility, without necessarily informing their counterparts in other sectors. This is a drawback, since the sharing of this data makes it possible to increase the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of maritime surveillance activities.

Data sharing and interoperability between maritime surveillance systems pose certain technical and legal problems, however, as well as problems from a security perspective. In this Communication, the Commission identifies these problems and puts forward solutions.

Obstacles to the integration of maritime surveillance

The main obstacles to the creation of a common information sharing environment are as follows:

  • diverse user and operator communities: most information is collected at several levels (international, EU and national) by numerous sectoral systems. In some cases the involved authorities are unaware that other authorities or systems are collecting similar information. In other cases they do not have information sharing standards or agreements;
  • diverse legal frameworks: maritime surveillance systems have been developed on the basis of sector-specific, international and EU legislation. These systems are therefore difficult to merge;
  • cross border threats: threats faced by Member States often require an improved trans-national and sometimes even trans-sectoral approach, in particular with regard to the high seas;
  • specific legal provisions: international and EU legislation which frames maritime surveillance activities on the high seas and governs the processing of personal, confidential and classified data lacks cohesion.

Solutions for the integration of maritime surveillance

The creation of a common information sharing environment is based on compliance with the following Guiding Principles:

  • optimising the exchange of information between the different user communities. The European Union should adopt rules and standards at Community level to interlink the different user communities. These communities should be able to share at national level information from international, Community, regional, military and internal systems. The common information sharing environment should be secure, and flexible enough to adapt to the needs of new users;
  • building a non-hierarchical technical framework of maritime monitoring and surveillance systems. The technical framework should facilitate the collection, dissemination, analysis and management of data. It should integrate security concerns and comply with data protection regulations, international rules and functional requirements;
  • exchanging information between civilian and military authorities. The authorities responsible for maritime surveillance should be able to share information. Common standards and procedures for access to and use of the information will be adopted to allow for a two-directional information exchange;
  • removing obstacles to the exchange of information imposed by specific legal provisions. Certain provisions of EU and national legislation may prevent the exchange of information relating to maritime monitoring and surveillance. These provisions should be identified and adapted while providing for the necessary guarantees relating to confidentiality and data security and the protection of personal data.

These four Guiding Principles will serve to trigger a reflection process at EU and Member State level which will need to encompass all user communities. They may be revised in light of the outcome of three projects aimed at evaluating the ability of users from different Member States and user communities to exchange information.

Context

This Communication follows on from a previous Communication – An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, in which the European Commission undertook to ‘take steps towards a more interoperable surveillance system to bring together existing monitoring and tracking systems used for maritime safety and security, protection of the marine environment, fisheries control, control of external borders and other law enforcement activities’.

Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security

Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Police and customs cooperation

Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2010/131/EU of 25 February 2010 on setting up the Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security.

Summary

This decision creates a Standing Committee with the objective of facilitating, promoting and strengthening the operational cooperation of the relevant national authorities of the European Union (EU) countries in the field of internal security.

The Standing Committee will ensure an effective cooperation and coordination in areas covered by police and customs cooperation, and by external border control authorities. Where appropriate, it will also cover judicial cooperation in criminal matters when relevant to operational cooperation in the area of internal security. The Standing Committee will assess the efficiency of the operational cooperation, identify any failings and then recommend appropriate action to address the shortcomings. The Standing Committee will not be involved in the conducting of operations or in the preparation of legislative acts.

With regard to the occurrence of a terrorist attack or a natural or man-made disaster within the EU, the Standing Committee will assist the Council in accordance with the solidarity clause in Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

The Standing Committee will help ensure consistency in actions taken by Eurojust, Europol, the European External Borders Agency (Frontex) and other relevant bodies. These bodies, when appropriate, will be invited to attend the meetings of the Standing Committee as observers.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Council Decision 2010/131

25.2.2010

OJ L 52 of 3.3.2010