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Finnish Ministry of Interior Sends Legislation Related to Smart Borders Package for Consultation

The Finnish Ministry of the Interior has sent a government bill for consultation on the Border Crossing Information System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

The proposal attempts to make changes to national law required by European Parliament and European Council regulations, available on both systems, reports.

The term “smart border” refers to automation and new technology introduced in border controls. This means, for example, border crossing automation, EU-wide registration of border-crossing data and online pre-registration of visa-free travelers from third countries, that is, outside the EU. Legislative Adviser Anne Ihanos noted in this regard that the changes do not include citizens of Finland or other Schengen countries.

The Border Crossing Information System attempts, among other things, to improve the identification of all persons at external borders wishing to enter European countries.

The EES (Entry and Exit System) regulation defines a new information system that prioritizes the improvement of external borders. In addition, the new strategy seeks to prevent illegal immigration and facilitate the management of migratory flows.

The system also aims to record the border-crossing data of third-country nationals who are allowed to enter EU member states for a short stay and to calculate the length of their authorized stay.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) has announced that it will soon launch the pilot project of the Entry and Exit System (EES), which is designed to replace passport stamps and tighten border controls in the European Union.

“Data may be processed by EES border authorities, visa authorities and immigration authorities. In addition, the police, border guards and customs have access to a system to prevent, detect and investigate terrorist offenses and serious crimes,” the Finnish Ministry of the Interior announced through a statement.

According to the authorities in Finland, the EES will be implemented in May 2022.

The Finnish Ministry of the Interior has stressed that the Border Guard is the Finnish national authority for the European Travel and Permit Information System (ETIAS). Such a system, which will conduct pre-screening of visa-free travelers by 2022, will process its applications automatically. The central unit ETIAS, under the management of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, “sends requests for further processing to the national units for manual processing.”

In 2020, Frontex announced that it is looking to find industry solutions for testing and implementing EES-compliant equipment, including complete technology solutions and testing various EES technical solutions.

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